After upsetting the odds by defeating the star studded Templenoe, Oughterard head to Croke Park on Saturday full of confidence.
Having achieved their aim of promotion to senior ranks in Galway, Oughterard have gone from strength to strength under the guidance of local man Tommy Finnerty and Corofin's Aiden Fahy.
They face a tough Monaghan side, Magheracloone Mitchells, who were forced to abandon their pitch and clubhouse following the collapse of a disused mine in 2018, and play their home games across the border in Louth club Annaghminnon’s pitch.
Having contested the 2017 senior county final, and after the 2018 pitch disaster, they then dropped to intermediate level for 2019. However, they achieved an immediate return to senior level after defeating Donaghboyne with a fine performance in the county final. With the experience of Tomas Freeman, his brother Damien, along with the excellent Shane Duffy and Gavin Doogan, this promises to be an open and entertaining game.
Oughterard will certainly need all their players at the top of their game, and will hope the fine form of both Enda and Matthew Tierney, along with Niall Lee, and semi-final goal-scorer Paul Walsh continues. This, followed by the strength in defence with captain Eddie O’Sullivan and Rory Molloy down the middle, and the exciting prospects who are the Monaghan brothers, Cian and Ryan, marauding forward on the flanks, gives the Galway champions every reason to be hopeful of national success to follow their county and provincial titles.
Having deservingly won the club intermediate player of the year, current Galway U20 Matthew Tierney has continued to perform throughout the year to help propel his side through to this year's All Ireland final.
His performances and important scores in both the county final games will be etched in the minds of Oughterard supporters for many years to come. Both his and his brother’s accuracy from free taking has been flawless from the first to last game of this long season.
Although no longer a spring chicken, 38-years-old Tomas Freeman will still be one of Magheracloone’s most dangerous players. His experience and efficiency in front of goal is still exemplary. He has shown this right throughout the year with exceptional performances to bring the Monaghan side back to where they feel they deserve to be, on the national stage.
The game will be played under lights on Saturday evening at 5.15pm after Na Gaeil face off with Rathgarogue-Cushintown in the junior final at 3.15pm. After both teams have played all their games under natural light, one wonders whether the artificial lighting will have an effect on this game. Either way, all roads will lead to Jones’s Road from west Galway to watch Finnerty’s troops give their all for their parish one more time.