Northern Gaels and Killoe Og have clashed on a regular basis in the various under-age county finals in recent years and the latest showdown is down for decision at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday next (throw-in 1.30pm) when the Minor ‘A’ Football Championship title will be at stake.
The strong Abbeylara and Mullinalaghta amalgamation have cruised their way through the current U-18 campaign and it will be a big surprise if they fail to regain the Harte Cup they last won in 2011 when they scored a most emphatic 1-17 to 0-6 win over Killoe in the decider.
While Killoe bounced straight back to win the Minor ‘A’ title last year, they are facing a very difficult task in the hope of retaining the championship crown and big games will be required from their key players Paddy Kiernan, Damien Bennett, Larry Moran, Darragh Gilna, Jamie King and Ciaran Donohoe if they are to have any chance of beating Northern Gaels.
Having said that, Killoe looked good in blowing Longford Slashers away in the semi-final with the wide margin of 13 points separating the sides in the finish and that was mainly due to a terrific start that yielded goals from Shane Thompson and Liam Hughes in the space of the opening minute.
Particuarly prominent for the reigning minor champions was their deadly full-forward Larry Moran, who clocked up the impressive total of 1-6, and he has the potential to make a major impact in the final providing he receives a proper supply of the ball.
But the overall power of the Northern Gaels team will probably prove too much for Killoe and the title favourites were never extended on their way to a landslide 4-20 to 0-4 win over the Fr. Manning Gaels/Dromard amalgamation in the semi-final.
Northern Gaels are backboned by several members of the Cnoc Mhuire, Granard squad that performed brilliantly to win the All-Ireland Vocational Schools Senior A’ Football Championship title at Croke Park back in April. David McGivney, Aidan McElligott, Rian Brady, Nigel Rabbitte, Anthony O’Reilly, Barry McKiernan, Luke Meehan, Aaron Earley and Cathal Lynch were all part of that wonderful achievement and further success looks likely to come the way of these young players on Sunday next.
McGivney, McElligott, Brady and Rabbitte are particularly promising and all four featured in the recent Mullinalaghta v Abbeylara Senior Championship quarter-final that went to a replay. Conor Berry and Jason Matthews are other prominent members of the Northern Gaels minor team and the mentors can also call on Jason Earley in their quest to win the U-18 county title.