While the senior final might be stealing most of the headlines, for the young footballers of Moate and Athlone the only game that really matters on Sunday throws in at 1.45pm when both sides contest the Minor A championship final. This all-south final is sure to draw a decent crowd in its own right as both clubs have a strong footballing tradition but have been starved of success in recent years.
It is 38 years since Moate All whites last contested the final at this grade while Athlone haven’t had success at that level since 1993. Both clubs have been starved of success at adult level in recent years too. Moate are now plying their trade in the junior ranks and Athlone haven’t won a senior crown since 1998.
Contesting the Minor A final is a step in the right direction for both clubs and winning it would be a major boost.
Athlone will be looking to the likes of Eoin O Reilly , Danny Lynam, Ray Connellan, Gavin Downey, Tommy McCoy, and Seamus Byrne to provide the necessary leadership. They have quite a few of their u16s amongst their ranks in what is a well-balanced team.
For their part Moate will be looking for big performances from full-back Daniel Buckley, and Robbie Gorman, Gavin Murray, and Eoghan Kelly in their bid to end the drought.
The county board deserve credit for restoring the club championship final as the precursor to the senior final. In recent years the amalgamations were given preference much to the dismay of clubs who are working hard to improve their underage set-up.
It will be a great experience for both sets of young players to step out in Cusack Park on county final day and just rewards for the efforts both clubs have been making at underage level in recent years.