A thriller awaits

Wicklow People - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE

WHAT a bat­tle awaits us on Sun­day af­ter­noon in Joule Park Aughrim when old foes Ti­na­hely and Carnew Em­mets go toe to toe in the Darcy Sand In­ter­me­di­ate Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship fi­nal from 1pm.

Ti­na­hely have been su­perb all sea­son in league and cham­pi­onship and on pa­per will start the game as favourites but in James Hickey’s Carnew they face an en­emy that will test them to their lim­its.

Hickey has done much the same job as Alan Costello has in the sense of re­ju­ve­nat­ing an ail­ing squad. The big ques­tion is whether the at­tack­ing flair and su­perb or­gan­i­sa­tion shown by the Ti­na­hely men un­der Costello can un­lock a stub­born Carnew de­fence where John Wal­she, Michael Rock and Paul Nolan have per­formed ad­mirably on oc­ca­sion.

It’s likely that Carnew will play a two-man full-for­ward line and en­gage a sweeper to try and sti­fle the Ti­na­hely move­ment up the field. Michael Byrne will get a full day’s work out of John Ka­vanagh while the meet­ing of John Wal­she and Alan Dil­lon has the po­ten­tial to be one of the bat­tles of the year.

What does Alan Costello do about Conal McCrea who has the abil­ity and grow­ing con­fi­dence to cause ma­jor headaches to any de­fence? Will Kevin Mul­hall be used as a man-mark­ing ma­chine to limit the dual player’s im­pact on the game?

Does James Hickey start Justin House? As im­pact subs go, House is up there with the best of them this sea­son so how would a start­ing role suit the burly at­tacker?

Ti­na­hely are un­likely to change some­thing that isn’t bro­ken. Paddy O’Rourke will start and the Ti­na­hely team will most likely re­main the same as their semi-fi­nal vic­tory over Kil­macanogue where Costello’s men showed their at­tack­ing dy­namic. If they can hit that height on Sun­day, then Carnew could be in se­ri­ous trou­ble.

Dis­ci­pline will be key. And dis­ci­pline is some­thing that both man­agers have in­stilled in their teams to a huge de­gree since they took over the helms of both proud clubs.

The role of Ja­son Cush is one that Ti­na­hely will be de­pend­ing on in a big way come Sun­day. Who does James Hickey de­tail that dif­fi­cult job? The Mount Le­in­ster Rangers man has shown se­ri­ous faith in Michael Rock in this cam­paign and if there is a man-mark­ing job to be done it might fall to the young tena­cious cor­ner-back but Andy Hughes might well be sta­tioned on the 45.

Carnew will likely start with Padraig Do­ran and John Doyle in the mid­dle of the field and they face a mas­sive bat­tle with Noel Mul­hall and Brian Walsh. Walsh has been su­perb all sea­son.

Does Wil­lie Collins use all his ex­pe­ri­ence and guile to limit the ef­fec­tive­ness of Stephen Dil­lon and both teams will need to be clean in their tack­les with Tony Darcy and John Ka­vanagh in fine form from placed balls all year?

This fi­nal is one of the most ea­gerly an­tic­i­pated clashes of all the county de­ciders given the his­tory be­tween these two clubs.

If it’s a dirty day in the county grounds ex­pect a dog-eat-dog bat­tle right to the fi­nal whis­tle.

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