James McGivney on the ball for Mullinalaghta with Killoe opponent Denis McGoldrick closing in to challenge. Action from the recent Senior Football Championship Group 1 clash. Photo: Declan Gilmore
Two cracking games in the quarter-finals of the Senior Football Championship are down for decision at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park this weekend and the main attraction is the meeting of Mullinalaghta St Columba’s and Killoe Emmet Og on Saturday evening, throw-in 6.45pm.
Old rivals Dromard and Clonguish take centre stage on Sunday evening (throw-in 6.30pm) and a close encounter is the probable outcome in this intriguing battle to determine who makes it through to a semi-final showdown against Mullinalaghta or Killoe.
It is unquestionably the most difficult side of the draw as the championship heats up and the general opinion is that the eventual winners of the latest St Columba’s and Emmet Og clash will go on to capture the Connolly Cup.
The injury problems are mounting for Killoe, who were short a few regulars for the recent group fixture against Mullinalaghta. While the result was really immaterial as both sides had already qualified for the quarter-finals of the championship, the subsequent struggle in that game is clearly a cause for concern for manager Fergal O’Donnell.
With ten minutes gone in the second half, Emmet Og trailed by 3-10 to 0-6 but gradually closed the gap to lose out by six points in the finish.
A much improved performance will be required in the match that really matters and the necessity to field their strongest possible side.
Apart from their array of talented players, St Columba’s are a physically strong side with a fierce desire to win the county senior football title for the second year in succession and are unbeaten in the league and championship this season under the driving force of their shrewd coach Mickey Graham.
A big attendance is expected for this massive encounter with the sides clashing in the knock-out stages for the fourth year in a row and as Mullinalaghta would appear to be in a better place at the moment the indications are that Killoe could be on the way out of the championship.
Clonguish and Dromard are familiar foes in recent years and when they clashed in the county final back in 2009 it took a replay to determine the destination of the much sought after Connolly Cup.
Clonguish emerged victorious at the second attempt, the last time they won the senior football championship title.
With their current good blend of experience and youth the Newtownforbes outfit will be fairly confident of advancing a stage further.
The return of accurate corner-forward Joe O’Brien after recovering from injury is a big boost for Clonguish who will be well aware about the tough task they are facing against a vastly experienced Dromard team.
Sean Hagan's side showed a lot of character to get the better of Longford Slashers in the make or break clash in the group stage of the championship.
Powered by Diarmuid Masterson at midfield, there is also considerable quality in the Dromard attack and this is a game that could go either way with Clonguish given a hesitant vote to reach the last four.
Mullinalaghta St Columba’s v Killoe Emmet Og
Clonguish v Dromard