County u-21 football showdown

Oughterard take on Corofin

This Saturday evening at Pearse Stadium the West Board u-21 A champions Oughterard take on their North Board counterparts Corofin in the eagerly anticipated county football final at 5.15pm.

Oughterard had a fine win over Salthill last Saturday in An Spidéal’s scenic grounds, winning comprehensively by 4-10 to 2-08 to qualify for the county final.

The management team of John Joe Reilly, Joe Folan and Tom Dougher will have been pleased with the work-rate, energy, heart and skill shown by their well-drilled side.

They are a big strong team with some fine footballers down the middle of the side. Team captain Chris O’Toole is a commanding figure at either full-back or number six and he leads from the front.

Former All-Ireland minor winner Damien O’Reilly really caught the eye at midfield and his pace and powerful running was hugely impressive against Salthill and is something of which Corofin will have to be mindful. O’Reilly, who is also an accomplished soccer player, hit a few sweet frees and he was probably the most exciting player on display.

His midfield partner Mark Kavanagh also caught some good kick-outs and he is very comfortable on the ball and also seems to have time to find a colleague.

They have some real aces in attack and Shane Molloy scored two good goals against Salthill and he was well supported by Martin Coady, Conrod Clancy, Aaron Coady and Ronan Molloy. Big Paul Mulkearns at wing-forward is also a handful and he is very difficult to dispossess if he gets his hands on the leather.

Corofin will look to the players on their team who have the experience of winning a county senior title last year and they will hope Ronan Steede, Cathal Silke and Michael Farragher continue their good form.

Steede was outstanding in his side’s victory over Annaghdown last weekend and more of the same will be required from him and a few others if they are to see off what will be a stiff challenge from the Oughterard boys.

Other players Corofin need to lead the charge include the talented Colm O’Donovan, Eanna Langan, Sean Kelly and David Bane.

Corofin were fortunate to defeat Tuam Stars in extra-time in the North Board semi-final and they will have to improve on that level of performance if they intend annexing another county title for the club.

I saw the Oughterard and Salthill tie and I have to say I was impressed with the power and pace of a good few of the Oughterard players. They should also have Joe Joe Greaney to come back into the frame for a starting place after a shoulder injury and he will add height and ball winning capacity around the middle.

It has the potential to be a high quality game of football and is definitely a contest worth attending.

Kilkerrin/Clonberne face Moycullen

Former Galway All-Ireland winner John Divilly is the Kilkerrin/Clonberne u-21 manager this season and the experienced Divilly is keen to steer his side to county honours this Saturday evening when they take on Moycullen in the u-21 “B” county final at 7pm in Pearse Stadium.

Kilkerrin/Clonberne hit 3-11 in seeing off Dunmore McHales and their star performer was former Galway senior star and team captain Jonathan Ryan, who hit 2-05 in a man-of-the-match display.

Ryan won an All-Ireland minor medal with Galway in 2007 and he can be a real match winner when the mood takes him. I remember him hitting a sensational goal against Westmeath in the NFL during Liam Sammon’s reign and if he is given space, he can really hang the O’Neills up in the net.

Moycullen will know they cannot allow him too much space if they are to get their hands on the silverware.

Ryan will be looking for support up front from players like the lively Conor Rabbitte, young Shane Walsh, who is on the current Galway minor panel, Mark Walsh and Luke Ronayne, who roves around the field in search of possession.

Their defence is built on the double pillars of full back Brian Walsh and centre-back Adrian Ward and they have both been in good form over the season. Their keeper Jamie O’Sullivan has a big booming kick-out and he can be a really good shot stopper on his day.

Maigh Cuilinn defeated Carna Caiseal na Piarsaigh on a score-line of 3-08 to 1-09 in the West Board final last weekend and they will be looking Philip Ezergailis, David Wynn, Eanna Noone, Niall Mannion and team captain Maithiú Ó Donnachú to lead the club to a county title.

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