Next Sunday at Pearse Stadium promises to be an exciting day for the two Connemara teams that won the Galway County intermediate and junior football championships this year as they set out on their quest to bring more glory to their parishes.
At 1pm An Spidéal, under the management of Donál Ó Fatharta, face Aughavas (Leitrim ) in the Connacht Junior semi-final, and at 2.30pm Naomh Anna, with Ciarán Ó Fatharta at the helm, take on Cloone (Leitrim ) in the Intermediate semi-final.
An Spidéal enjoyed an impressive win over Headford in the junior final with the accurate shooting of Breandán Óg Ó’Callarain the highlight of that game.
An Spidéal is a hard working side with power down the middle of the defence where team captain Aodán Breathnach at full-back and centre-back Michéal Ó Curraoin are well able to hold their own.
Lorcán and Michéal Ó Callaráin have been impressive at midfield and they should ensure that the supply lines stay open for the likes of Aodán Ó Curraoin, Tomás Ó Fatharta, and young brother Breandán to hit a match winning tally.
I met their popular and sociable goalkeeper Padraig Lally last Thursday and he told me that the panel have been working really hard over the past few weeks to try to win a Connacht title.
Lally, who won an All-Ireland medal with the Galway seniors back in 2001, spoke highly of the management team of Donal O’Fatharta, Nollaig O’Neachtain, Michéal O Duinn, and Deglán Ó Tuathail who have put in a big effort all season, setting high standards, getting the club back to intermediate level in Galway, and now trying to win a provincial title.
We wish them well on Sunday.
Naomh Anna face a tough task against Cloone
The word from Leitrim is that Cloone is a very good side which only recently went down from senior to intermediate and has bounced straight back up again.
A very organised outfit, Cloone won’t be coming up the N17 on Sunday just to make up the numbers.
However Leitir Mór are well used to being the underdog at this stage and that won’t bother them unduly.
They broke Oughterard’s heart in the semi-final and stuck to their guns before finally eking out a one point win over St James in the final so they know what it takes to win tight games.
They have hard working and honest players all over the field and they will look to the Breathnach brothers (Fiachra and Ferdia ), Toto Ó Gríofa, Patsy Seoighe, Cristóir Ó Flatharta and Eamonn Ó Loinsigh to show the leadership and drive to get them over the end line this weekend.
There is an injury doubt to their free-taker and wing-forward Daithi MacDonnchadha who shot 0-4 (2fs ) in the county final. He would be a major loss if he is out and no doubt Ciaran Ó Fatharta will be very hopeful that Mac Donnchadha will rise like Lazurus to take his place and score four points again this Sunday.
Pat Comer, a man who won county senior medals in Galway with two clubs in the 1990s and had a distinguished career in goal with Galway and Ireland, is a constituent of the Naomh Anna backroom team for the last few months.
Pat speaks highly of the club and the effort being put in by all the panel and management team to try to reach the Connacht final on Sunday week.
“They are a terrific bunch of lads and they take great pride in wearing the club colours. They are proud and honest men and they will do their absolute best on Sunday to have Naomh Anna going onto the next round.
“The lads have done everything asked of them and hopefully if we perform as we can, we will get through. The team never gives up and that is a fantastic characteristic to have in any panel of players. Cloone is a good side, but we believe in our panel, and if things go for us, we can progress.”
Team manager Ciarán Ó Fatharta was a selector for three years with Peter Forde and that inter-county management experience will be a plus for the men wearing black and yellow this Sunday too.
The fact that the games are on in Pearse Stadium and not down in Leitrim is a major advantage to both Galway sides and hopefully with lots of united and combined vocal and colourful home support the Gaeltacht men can continue on their winning ways.