The Connacht intermediate football semi final will take place this coming Sunday afternoon in Tuam Stadium at 2pm between Monivea-Abbey and Mayo intermediate champions Kilmeena as Francis Roche’s team begin their foray into the provincial championship.
It will be one of the final games in Tuam Stadium before the redevelopment of the old stand which has been in place for many years and has witnessed so many different competitions and classic games. Off the back of yet another storm, there is hope for solid playing conditions in Tuam on Sunday, as the elements have been kind to football so far this season.
For Monivea-Abbey, the will have to come down from the high of their brilliant victory over Kilconly two weekends ago. You can be sure that Bunt Roche, Mike Farragher and John Donnellan had their feet firmly back on the ground during last week as they await a stern test from Kilmeena.
Monivea-Abbey will remain without the services of their star player Cillian McDaid as he continues his recovery from a leg fracture which will keep him out until the early spring. However, in his absence, there have been a number of players that have stood up and been counted for Monivea-Abbey over the past month.
There is always going to be a feeling of being weakened when you lose a player of his calibre but it appears as though many individuals have been spurred on by Cillian’s injury when you look at the performances of Glen Kelly, Niall Mannion and Darragh Burke who have taken their games to another level since the quarter final against Micheal Breathnachs.
Lee Kenny also returned to the fold for the final and produced a stellar performance in the middle of the park. Kenny and the man giant Trevor Mullins have the makings of a midfield partnership that will excel at senior level as their qualities complement each other so well. There will also be a number of selection headaches for Francis Roche as he was able to spring Patrick Mullins from the bench at half time in the final and Mullins injected a lot of pace and energy into the team to really put his hand up for selection from the outset.
Kilmeena come into this fixture fresh of the back of hammering Leitrim champions Annaduff last weekend in the Connacht quarter final on a scoreline of 4-18 to 0-08. They will be happy to have a game under their belts a fortnight after their two point victory in the Mayo final at the fourth time of asking over a much-fancied Ballinrobe outfit.
Last weekend’s run out will have allowed them to dust off any lingering cobwebs that might have remained from the Mayo final victory. Kilmeena have the potential to score freely as seen in the game against Annaduff and also their Mayo semi final victory over Moy Davitts where they put up 1-18 on the scoreboard.
Mayo star Jack Carney is the engine of this Kilmeena outfit but will be well matched at midfield given it is one of Monivea-Abbey’s strongest positions on the field. Kilmeena’s inside line is extremely dangerous with Caolach Halligan their scorer in chief ably assisted by corner forward John McGlynn. It will be a closely fought contest that is likely to go down to the wire.