St James have enjoyed a glorious 2010. Intermediate champions in Galway, promoted to senior, crowned Connacht champions, and awarded the club of the year for their efforts.
And they are not finished yet. On Sunday in the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick at 1pm, they will attempt to go one step further and advance to the All Ireland Intermediate Football Championship final in Croke Park in the second Saturday in February.
Standing between them and that date with destiny are the Munster champions, Gneeveguilla from Kerry.
As with any team coming out of the Kingdom, they will be hard to stop, but Seamus Burke, the St James’ manager, is confident that his charges will not be found wanting.
“Of course Gneeveguilla are a good team. They are the Munster champions and we will respect them, but we have been going well for the past few months too and we will be giving it our best shot. We have no injury worries and having a full panel to pick from is a great position to be in. We have trained hard over the past few weeks and the mood is really good in the camp. We will be travelling to Limerick with plenty of self-belief and we will be giving it our all to come home with a win. ”
The St James’ panel travelled to Limerick last Sunday for a run out on the pitch and to get their bearings for this weekend, and the mood is very positive in the club.
There will not be many changes to the team that annexed the county and provincial titles which will see the likes of Alan Deacy, Johnny Duane, Paul Conroy, Eoin Concannon, Alan O’Donnell and team captain Mark Kelly manning the key central positions.
John Egan’s role in goal will be critical too, as the Galway intermediate player of the year will have to find his men with his kick-outs as the Kerry lads are very strong in the midfield sector. Wing-backs Jamie Burke and Tommy Walsh had fine seasons last year and they will expect to bring that form into the fray next weekend.
Up front St James’ will need the likes of Ronan O’Connell and the experienced Seamie Rabbitte to augment their central men with a few scores if they are to advance.
The game is followed by the clash of Munster kingpins Nemo Rangers and Killarney Crokes at 2.30pm in the Munster club final which will mean the Kerry boys will have a lot of support in the stand and on the terraces.