It’s the holders versus the favourites in the final of the Flynn and Lynch Junior Football Championship when Moydow Harpers take on Legan Sarsfields this Saturday evening in Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, throw-in 5.15pm.
Both sides had to overcome semi-finals replays to reach this decider. A late flurry of goals secured a 4-8 to 1-8 win for Moydow over Longford Slashers while a dominant spell in the closing stages of the first half put Legan on the way to a 0-15 to 0-10 win over Fr. Manning Gaels. Ironically in the drawn games both sides left it very late to snatch a second chance.
Legan looked very impressive in the opening exchanges of the replay and put in a display that definitely warrants the championship favourites tag with Paddy O’Neill, Paul Ross and Barry Tierney were very much to the fore. The Sarsfields created a number of goal opportunities but failed to take any and will be hoping to find the back of the net should the opportunity arise in the final.
Legan did allow the Gaels to come back into the game in the second half but the Drumlish/Ballinamuck side couldn’t find the goal they needed to really make a game of it – unlike the drawn game when they almost caused an upset. Legan know they cannot afford to make the same mistakes in the title decider because Moydow have players that will punish them.
But all over the field Legan have matchwinners in Shane Cox, Niall Flood and the aforementioned O’Neill, Tierney and the vastly experienced Ross - key players who will be going all out to make the desired impact. After playing in the Intermediate Championship in recent years but who were relegated last season, Legan are bidding to bounce straight back up and will be hard beaten.
Last year’s Junior champions Moydow will not relinquish their crown without a real fight and will certainly put it up to a strong Legan side. The Harpers put in a very good display against Slashers in the replay, even though they left it late to secure the win. They have good battling qualities and will need to show those again on Saturday.
It was a very late goal for the Harpers that brought the semi-final against Slashers to a replay and it was two late goals that ended up booking their place in the decider at the second attempt. Moydow have a potent forward line that can get goals so the Sarsfields defence will have to stand firm.
Just like Legan the Harpers have a good balanced team and leaders all over the field. Niall Keenan is a commanding full-back while wing back John Keegan and midfielder Mark Quinn like getting forward. In attack Paul Stuart, Ryan Higgins and Conor Keenan are capable of getting the vital scores, especially goals. Colin Clyne was brought on to fine effect against Slashers in the semi-final replay, chipping in with 1-1, and he will be hoping that is good enough to earn a starting place against Legan.
If the semi-finals are anything to go by a most intriguing game is in prospect and there could be very little separating the sides in the finish. But the wealth of experience Legan have in their side could prove decisive and thus the Sarsfields are given the vote to win the Junior Championship for the first time since 2000.
PREDICTION: Legan Sarsfields