Reigning county, provincial, and All-Ireland club champions St Brigid’s put their title on they line as the take on neighbours Clann na nGael in what promises to be an intriguing county semi-final. The current champs against the former kingpins. What a pity it is not being played in the south of the county where a huge neutral crowd from the Athlone area would surely be in attendance.
It is now all of 16 years since Clann won the last of their 19 senior county titles but like smoke emerging from the crater Clann’s recent crowning as league champions is an early indicator that something is stirring in and around Johnstown. They have been dormant for long enough and regardless of the outcome of this game I expect Clann to be more active and competitive in the coming years.
Even allowing for the fact that The Saints were far from impressive against St Faithleach’s, it is difficult to see them slipping up here. A derby game like this is exactly what Brigid’s need to refocus them. A training camp in Westport last weekend will also have helped shake off some cobwebs.
While a few regulars like Peter Domican and Richie Blaine are away on their travels the Kiltoom side have no shortage of strength in depth to see off the expected strong Clann challenge.
Clann’s over-reliance on the boot of Donie Shine for scores must be a major concern for Clann manager Eamonn Harney. Upsets do happen but I can’t see one happening here.