Killoe manager Tommy Donohoe pictured at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park for the semi-final v Mostrim last weekend Photo: Syl Healy
Killoe Emmet Og manager Tommy Donohoe is not surprised that his side will face Longford Slashers in the 2020 Senior football championship final on Sunday.
Slashers booked their place in the final with a fine win over Mullinalaghta on Sunday last. Killoe had secured a semi-final win over Mostrim on Saturday evening last. It allowed Donohoe the chance to go to watch the opposition in Sunday’s game.
He said: Slashers are building. They’re a team that I’ve always been aware of them coming through. They had the underage structure, it wasn’t by chance.
“Most of these lads were backboning county U-18 and St. Mel’s College teams too. Killoe lads were with them. It’s not a surprise that Slashers are here now. They deserve to be where they are. Them getting to a county final again and beating Mullinalaghta on the way, is not a big shock.”
Both sides have lots of players with experience and guile in their ranks as well as talented young players. Donohoe admitted that there has been a huge change in personnel over the last number of years with Killoe.
He said: “There is a massive turnaround of players. I was looking back to 2012 when Killoe won the championship and there are only three of our starting team left. We are after rebuilding. When I took over from Fergal O’Donnell, we were starting to rebuild and it was great to win a championship in 2019, while we were rebuilding.”
Having been involved with Killoe’s minors before he took over at senior level he admitted how important underage football is for the club.
He said: “Winning a minor championship is a big thing because a lot of lads are ready to step into senior. If you can get a minor title and your senior team are still going well at the time, and you have older players on it.
“We are blending our younger squad with the experience of Michael Quinn, Danny Mimnagh, Mark Hughes, Larry Moran, Denis McGoldrick and Ronan McGoldrick. It wasn’t a massive move for the young lads to come in. They were getting good leadership from the established players.”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s final there will be interesting battles all over the field but the key one will be in midfield. Both sides have excellent midfield players.
Donohoe said: “The battle in midfield in any game is massive. Slashers won the battle at midfield against Mullinalaghta. They won it because they had real pace. If you can win 70% of the battle you are on your way, then it’s up to the forwards. We are happy to be where we are.”
With just one week before the semi-finals and the final the build-up to a county final is very different for both clubs. Donohoe believes there should have been a two week gap.
He said: “A county final is a massive thing for the parish. Especially with Covid. I think it’s unfortunate that it is going to be rushed. It’s as important as any other championship. We are not getting to enjoy it as well as before. It’s a massive regret that there is not two weeks of a gap.”
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