St Michael’s are on the verge of regaining senior status. Next weekend’s County Intermediate Championship decider with Glenamaddy carries all the hallmarks of a defining afternoon for the city club.
All the hours spent readying underage teams will be condensed into one hour. For this is the reason that John Ruane, Peter Curran, Pat Regan, and a string of other loyal servants kept plugging away. The prospect of better days was always there, but now Michael’s are delivering on their promise.
Two minor titles offered encouragement, but many of those teams have drifted from the Michael’s scene. Those who have remained spearhead the challenge, but Glenamaddy are knowledgeable opponents, who have graduated from this grade before. Indeed the turf accountants have surprisingly forgotten that Glen were senior semi-finalists only three years ago. While that was a particularly weak championship it a credit to Glen that they found themselves in the final furlong. Still the bookies reckon Michael’s appetite could be a factor, installing the townies as 8/13 favourites.
Improving with each outing, Michael’s progress has been impressive. Kilconly usually carry a significant threat at this level, but Michael’s were able to deal with them confidently. Eddie Hoare’s bearing that afternoon was considerable and Michael’s will be leaning heavily on the Galway panelist.
Since occupying a central role in St Mary’s charge to the Hogan Cup final Hoare has encountered injury trouble, but stitching meaty performances together when fully fit has never been a problem. Hoare’s rugged centrefield style ensures he steals into attack at every available opportunity and there is no disputing his ability to loft over points.
There is a refreshing youthfulness to the Michael’s defence with Alan Glynn, Cian McClaferty, Jamie Downes, and Peter Ruane all capable footballers. Further up the pitch Michael’s will trust that Pat Regan, Micheal Feeney, Frank Daly, Greg Rogan, and Hughie McClafferty can augment Hoare’s scoring ability.
That is a tricky task as Glen are wily competitors. Aidan Potter, Seamus Silke, and Walter Burke are crafty in a stingy defence that never allowed Oughterard settle in the semi. And Glen’s full forward line is extremely strong with Micheal Molloy, Shay Walsh, and Tomas Curtin all accurate kickers. That inside trio hit 1-9 out of 2-11 when Oughterard were nudged out of the reckoning so how Michael’s cope will be revealing.
In a final anything can occur, but Michael’s will be hoping that the momentum can sweep them over the line to ensure senior fare graces the Westside sward again.