A most intriguing Intermediate Football Championship title decider between neighbouring clubs Ardagh St. Patrick’s and Carrickedmond is creating considerable interest with the eagerly awaited county final at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday next.
But both south Longford sides have been hit by injury problems going into the big game with regular Ardagh midfielder Seamus Shortt a long term casualty while also set to be ruled out is Carrickedmond defender Patrick Farrell.
In the early stages of the semi-final clash against Rathcline, Farrell was forced to retire with just eight minutes gone and soon after Carrickedmond suffered another setback when one of their most experienced players, John Lenehan, had to be replaced after getting injured.
The loss of forward Lenehan, in particular, would be a big blow for Carrick who are also sweating over the fitness of Kevin Moran while St. Patrick’s will sorely miss the driving force of Shortt - one of their longest serving players who sustained a serious injury in a recent Division 1 league game against Clonguish.
While Ardagh managed without Shortt in getting the better of Legan Sarsfields in the semi-final, thanks to crucial goals from key forwards Paddy Ganley and Danny Keenan, they are facing a tougher task against Carrickedmond in the final.
The other main men on the St. Patrick’s team are centre-half-back Gerard Farrell along with Shane Powell at centrefield while one of their promising younger players, Killian Farrell, is capable of featuring prominently in the full-forward-line.
Liam Keenan is the current Ardagh manager and the former St. Patrick’s and Longford midfielder has put in a lot of hard work in his fierce desire to guide his club to Intermediate Championship glory - a title they last captured back in 2006.
But Carrickedmond (coached by Mullingar Shamrocks clubman Ned Moore) would appear to be the better-balanced team and they showed a lot of character in staging a tremendous comeback against Rathcline when all seemed lost in the semi-final. Carrick were six points down before a badly needed goal from Marty Mulvey in the 51st minute threw them a lifeline and they ended up scoring a total of 1-4 without reply to clinch a place in the Intermediate final they last contested in 2010 when they captured the Hennessy Cup.
Backboned by resolute defenders in Barry O’Farrell, Kevin Moran, Padraig O’Shea and Padraig McGrath and the competent midfield pairing of John O’Shea and John Burns, Carrickedmond will be hard beaten but will be depending on Marty Mulvey and John Gerety to make a big impact in attack in the quest to emerge victorious.