Longford Intermediate Football Championship: The battle begins in the quest to capture the Gerry Hennessy Cup

2017 Mulleady Group Intermediate Football Championship

Padraic O'Brien

Reporter:

Padraic O'Brien

Email:

padraig.obrien@longford-leader.ie

Longford Intermediate Football Championship sponsors

Niall Mulleady (centre) of the Mulleady Group, the sponsors of the Intermediate Championship, pictured with County Board Chairperson Eamon Reilly and Vice-Chairperson Brid McGoldrick. Pic: D Gilmore

The start of the 2017 Intermediate Football Championship is part of a packed programme this weekend and there will be considerable interest in the clash of neighbouring rivals Rathcline and Cashel in Group 1.  

Regarded as two of the leading contenders in the quest to capture the Gerry Hennessy Cup, both clubs are fancied to qualify for the last four regardless of the outcome of the first round game at McGann Park in Kenagh this Friday evening, throw-in 8pm.  

The Rathcline manager this season is one of their own, Kevin Hanley, who was a member of the squad that won the county Intermediate title two years ago, and the Lanesboro outfit are  working hard to recover from the fierce struggle they experienced in the senior grade last season.

Relegation was the eventual outcome but with talented players like Liam Connerton and Shane Kenny to call upon they are well capable of bouncing back in making a strong bid to win the Intermediate Championship again.

Coaching Cashel this season is Mark Heslin from Gortletteragh and the south Longford club will be determined to make amends for the bitter disappointment of a bad defeat against St Brigid’s Killashee in last year’s final.

The Farrell brothers Andrew and Conor are the key figures on the Cashel team and even if they happen to slip up against Rathcline, they will be expected to beat both Legan Sarsfields and Young Grattans who clash in the first round.

Westmeath native David Molloy is the manager of Legan Sarsfields, who are operating in Division 3 of the All County League and therefore have yet to meet any of their fellow Intermediate rivals this season.

John Twaddle is currently at the helm of his own club Young Grattans, who always believe in their ability to spring a surprise and that was the case last year when they succeeded in reaching the semi-finals.

Ardagh St Patrick’s/Moydow Harpers, Sean Connolly’s, Ballymore and Kenagh will battle it out in Group 2 to determine what two clubs will qualify for the semi-finals and some intriguing games are in prospect.

Following the big disappointment of failing to make it out of the group stage last year when many were actually predicting the amalgamation as potential winners of the title, Ardagh/Moydow will be hoping to make a major impact in the current campaign with Gowna clubman Sean Pearson back in charge.

Daryl Carrigy and Killian Farrell are the main men in attack in the chase for the vital scores and their opening fixture in the championship is against Kenagh, who are coached by one of their former players Paddy Gill.

Losing Rory Connor to a long term injury is a serious setback for Kenagh who will endeavour to give it their best shot but the chances of making further progress in the championship would appear to be slim.

Killoe clubman Kevin Dooner is in his second season as the manager of Ballymore and while they will be looking to Bernard McElvaney to make a big impact, starting with the first round game against Sean Connolly’s on Sunday, the departure of the versatile Mattie Gorman to the United States for the summer months is a significant blow.

Leading the charge for Connolly’s in their championship challenge will be Dessie Reynolds, with former Abbeylara player and manager Donal Ledwith coaching the Ballinalee side, and the target is at least a semi-final spot which will probably be achieved with Ardagh/Moydow also tipped to reach the last four.

It appears to be a wide open race for the Intermediate title and whatever happens a most competitive championship looks like materialising to determine the eventual winners of the Gerry Hennessy Cup.

Mulleady Group Intermediate Football Championship

Group 1

Cashel

Rathcline

Legan Sarsfields

Young Grattans


First Round: Cashel v Rathcline

Prediction: Rathcline


First Round: Young Grattans v Legan Sarsfields

Prediction: Young Grattans


Second Round: Legan Sarsfields v Cashel

Prediction: Cashel


Second Round: Rathcline v Young Grattans

Prediction: Rathcline

Third Round: Rathcline v Legan Sarsfields

Prediction: Rathcline


Third Round: Young Grattans v Cashel

Prediction: Cashel


Top two teams to qualify for the semi-finals


Prediction: Rathcline and Cashel

Group 2

Ardagh St Patrick’s/Moydow Harpers

Sean Connolly’s

Ballymore

Kenagh


First Round: Ardagh St Patrick’s/Moydow Harpers v Kenagh

Prediction: Ardagh/Moydow


First Round: Sean Connolly’s v Ballymore

Prediction: Sean Connolly’s


Second Round: Ballymore v Ardagh St Patrick’s/Moydow Harpers

Prediction: Ardagh/Moydow


Second Round: Kenagh v Sean Connolly’s

Prediction: Sean Connolly’s


Third Round: Kenagh v Ballymore

Prediction: Ballymore


Third Round: Sean Connolly’s v Ardagh St Patrick’s/Moydow Harpers

Prediction: Ardagh/Moydow


Top two teams to qualify for the semi-finals


Prediction: Ardagh/Moydow and Sean Connolly’s