By Padraic O’Brien
The main talking point in this year’s Intermediate Football Championship was the surprise failure of last year’s beaten finalists Cashel to make it through to the last four and Legan Sarsfields, the team that knocked them out, can now look forward to a semi-final clash against neighbouring rivals Ardagh which is scheduled for Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday September 8th.
But first into action are Carrickedmond and Rathcline, who meet at Pearse Park on Sunday evening next (5.15pm), and it must be said that the Lanesboro lads showed a lot of character when the pressure was on to get the result they required in their remaining group fixture against Ardagh - winning by seven points against the already qualified St. Patrick’s.
Mostrim clubman Gerry Lynn is coaching Rathcline, who are improving steadily, but whether they are good enough to overcome Carrickedmond in the semi-final remains to be seen. The teams finished all square when they clashed in the group stage of the current championship and another close encounter could be in prospect.
Rathcline will be looking to the Casserly brothers Derek and Shane to gain a decisive edge at centrefield but Carrickedmond appear to be the better balanced side with county defender Barry O’Farrell, Kevin Moran, John O’Shea and Marty Mulvey their key players.
Last year’s Junior champions Legan have got this far without their big midfielder Conor Quaine and will be quietly confident of springing another surprise in the intriguing local derby against Ardagh, who are managed by former Longford player Liam Keenan. Shane Cox, Barry Tierney and the vastly experienced Paul Ross are all capable of making a big impact for the Sarsfields who done well to draw with Rathcline in Round 1 and were then hard pressed to beat Sean Connolly’s before battling back from four points down in the closing stages to catch Cashel in a dramatic finish.
Legan are now facing a tough task against Ardagh who will be hoping to have key forward Danny Keenan back in action. Injury ruled Keenan out of the previous game against Rathcline and his presence in the attack is vital if St. Patrick’s are to reach the Intermediate Championship Final. Gerald Farrell, Seamus Shortt and Paddy Ganley are other main men on the Ardagh team who are given the vote to get the better of Legan.
PREDICTION: Wins for Ardagh and Carrickedmond