04 Dec 2021

Longford IFC Final: Can Curley guide St Brigid's Killashee to another championship win?

Mulleady Group 2021 Intermediate Football Championship Final on Saturday

mulleady group intermediate football championship

Ray Curley, the manager of the St Brigid's Killashee intermediate football squad Photo: Syl Healy

History means little to St Brigid’s Killashee manager Ray Curley. Just over two months on from masterminding the club’s path to Intermediate title success courtesy of a Covid delayed 2020 campaign, Curley is putting the finishing touches to what he hopes will be a similar outcome in Saturday afternoon’s eagerly awaited final against Ballymahon.

Any talk or potential of deja vu setting in is not a business Curley has any interest in.

“We won the (2020) championship against Ardagh Moydow, but that’s gone,” said an adamant sounding Curley.  

“All we are focusing on now is one game. People can talk about it and what went before, but we aren’t. 

“Our lads are very good that way in concentrating on big games and to not let anything distract them.”

Longford IFC Final: St Brigid's Killashee and Ballymahon battle it out for the Hennessy Cup

While St Brigid’s are on the brink of creating a most significant piece of Longford GAA history in their bid to win the Intermediate Football Championship title twice in the space of just over a couple of months, they are facing a tough task against Ballymahon in the 2021 final.

Longford IFC Final: Hudson has Ballymahon buzzing and back on track in bid for title

There’s an old saying ‘a week is a long time in football’, but try telling that to Ballymahon manager Alan Hudson. The 44-year-old was a member of the south Longford side’s last victorious march to Intermediate title success back in 1998, a triumph he is aspiring to replicate this Saturday.

Ballyleague native Curley is not just well positioned geographically, but can boast a deeper lineage than most when it comes to the affairs of the St Brigid’s Killashee club. 

The free speaking supremo was at the helm during St Brigid's victorious Intermediate Championship winning campaign in 2016 and in the previous year almost guided Killashee to a  Leinster Junior title triumph in the unlucky defeat against Curraha of Meath.

Curley, as he put it himself is a “long time knocking around”, a hint perhaps at the semblance of experience he brings to the touchline and why so many of his peers are so respectful of the standing he commands among players and coaching personnel alike.

“I am very lucky with the group of players I have in Killashee,” he said, when attempting to deflect his own managerial credentials to that of the 30 strong panel he takes into battle on Saturday next. 

“They are very easy to manage and we don’t have a one size fits all approach, everybody offers something different and that’s the way we approach things. It’s the way we approach training and it’s the way we will approach the final on Saturday.”

As simple as it is potent, Curley needs no urging as to the threats posed by the side that are looking to replace them at the top of Longford’s Intermediate footballing ladder.

Ballymahon are very experienced and have a lot of players that were involved in their senior championship team,” he said. 

“They have Emmet Finn, I think he was man of the match the last day against Ardagh Moydow, Mark Connor and Kevin Diffley who is a serious player.

“It’s a huge challenge, it’s a big battle ahead of us, we know that. 

“But we won’t be taking anything for granted, we know what we have to do.”

History may be irrelevant for now, but if Curley’s charges manage to pull off another memorable county title triumph on Saturday, a fresh chapter will be etched in the annals of St Brigid’s Killashee GAA forever more.

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