The St James’s footballers and their loyal supporters of Mervue and Renmore will have to attend Mass early this weekend as they need to be on the N17 early on Sunday for their Connacht intermediate final meeting with Strokestown at 12.30pm in Tuam Stadium.
Following their well-deserved three-point win (0-11 to 0-8 ) over Tourmakeady last Sunday, the Galway champions will travel with high hopes of following the footsteps of Caherlistrane, Moycullen, St Michael’s and Leitir Mór who all won the Connacht title in the past few years.
Their success over Tourmakeady in McHale Park in Castlebar was built on a rock solid defence in which Alan Deacy and Johnny Duane were the cornerstones.
Those two men, aided and abetted by Shane Coughlan, Conor Glynn, Jamie Burke and Tommy Walsh, have been in great form in the past few months and much of their recent success can be accredited to the quality of their defensive displays.
Eoin Concannon, who shot 0-5 (3fs ) from centre-forward, won the MOM award and his county colleague Paul Conroy also chipped in with 0-4 (3fs ) from midfield.
If they are to defeat a Roscommon side that won their county’s senior title as recently as 2002, those two men will have to keep the scoreboard ticking along this weekend too.
Seamie Rabbitte and Ronan O’Connell in the two corner forward slots also need to increase their scoring ratios, and a goal or two is long overdue from the inside line.
Team manager Seamus Burke knows his side face a really tough examination and a step-up in class this weekend.
“We have no injuries, which is a big plus, and we intend having a right cut at it this Sunday. We have not been scoring enough from the chances we are creating and we need to be more proficient and ruthless in front of goal. If we can take more of the opportunities that we create, we won’t be too far away.
“Strokestown have some very fine players and they will be difficult to defeat. Guys like John Rodgers are very talented and we will have to be at our best to advance. It would be fantastic for our club to win a Connacht title and it would create a great buzz over the next two months if we were preparing for an All-Ireland semi-final.
“If we play as I know we are capable of and really tear into it, we have a great chance. Hopefully plenty of Galway football supporters will come out to support both ourselves and Killererin in the senior game.”
Intermediate county hurling final
Padraig Pearses will take on Killimor at 2.15pm this Sunday in Athenry in the intermediate county hurling final. The game is preceded by the minor B final at 12.30pm between Ahascragh/Fohenagh and Kilconieron.