Killererin look for elusive Connacht title on Sunday

This Sunday at Tuam Stadium (2pm ) Killererin will hope to finally add to their two Connacht titles won in 1976 and 1978.

Since 1999 the North Board club has won four county titles, but has failed to go on to represent the county outside of the province.

They hope to change that statistic this weekend.

Their opponents St Brigid’s (Roscommon ) won their only title in 2006 and were not too far from defeating Crossmaglen Rangers in the All-Ireland semi-final either.

There is some recent history between the teams and they clashed in 2007 in the Connacht championship in the semi-final at Tuam.

The Roscommon champions won easily in that tie on a score-line of 4-10 to 1-11 with David O’Connor their scoring ace, notching 2-3 from play.

Predictably Padraic Joyce was the home team’s star-turn in that defeat and he gave an exhibition of point taking, hitting 1-09, with 1-06 from play in a fabulous display.

St Brigid’s hit three goals in the first half that day, however it is difficult to see them doing any such damage to Alan Keane’s goal this weekend, as the Killererin defence has improved enormously as this year has progressed.

Colin Forde who is a student in UCD has really settled in at full-back and his clash with big Senan Kilbride will be one to savour.

Team captain Declan Kelly is having a powerhouse year at corner back and the half-back line of Ian Reddington, Tomás Fahy and Daniel Mannion has been immense.

Young Mannion has been getting rave reviews and is developing into a very fine player, while Fahy’s reading of the breaking ball against Ballintubber was exceptional.

Tomás may pick up Frankie Dolan at centre-forward, who is a key play-maker for St Brigid’s and if Dolan was nullified, it would be a massive blow to Brigid’s chance of success.

At midfield, player manager Tommie Joyce and big Thomas Hughes have gelled well together and if Hughes can win the aerial battle with Roscommon veteran Karol Mannion on Sunday, he will have done a forceful job for his side.

A huge boost for Killererin moral is that their talisman Padraic Joyce will arrive back into the country on Saturday and he is expected to line out on the edge of the square on Sunday.

His calming influence is a big factor for the side and, if he and Nicky Joyce can combine to their full potential, the St Brigid’s rearguard will be in trouble.

Killererin’s wing-forwards, Jonathan Keane and Tomas Flynn are unsung heroes for their side as they both do Trojan selfless work and snaffle up the world of breaks on the fringes of midfield.

Keane is an intelligent player and rarely wastes possession, which fits perfectly into Killererin’s game plan.

Corner forward Michéal Boyle’s all-action style and pace has troubled corner backs in the last few months and Ger Butler is a regular flag raiser for the team.

It will not be easy for the Barnadearg men as St Brigid’s are an experienced outfit.

They have two wins to their credit in the Connacht championship, easily beating Eastern Harps (Sligo ) by 0-21 to 1-4 in the quarter-final, and Glencar-Manorhamilton (Leitrim ) by 1-13 to 3-5 in the semi-final.

Killererin’s manager, Tommie Joyce firmly believes that his men will do the job for their beloved club this weekend and collect a third provincial title for the parish.

“We have no injuries, thankfully, and everyone is available. The mood is terrific in the camp and we are really looking forward to the game. St Brigid’s are a very good outfit, but if we play as we know we can, and as we did in the county final, we are in with a great chance.

“We have a more mature and experienced team than we had three years ago and if we get a few breaks at all on Sunday, we are confident we have the panel of players to win the game and finish off the year with the Connacht title.”

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