Kilmaine face the toughest of tests tomorrow

GAA: All Ireland Junior Football Club Championship Semi Final

Going for Croker: Kilmaine will be looking to book a place in the All Ireland Junior Final tomorrow afternoon. Photo: Mayo GAA

Going for Croker: Kilmaine will be looking to book a place in the All Ireland Junior Final tomorrow afternoon. Photo: Mayo GAA

If Kilmaine are gong to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Ardnaree and Kiltimagh in reaching an All Ireland Junior Club Football Championship final in Croke Park - they are very much going to have to do it the hard way.

The south Mayo men will back themselves against anyone, but tomorrow afternoon in Cusack Park in Ennis they will meet their toughest test of the year when they face Kerry and Munster champions Na Gaeil at 1.30pm, who look to follow in the footsteps of last year's Kerry champions, Beaufort, who claimed the All Ireland title.

The north Tralee side who were only established in 1978, picked up the Kerry junior title thanks to a 3-14 to 1-10 win over St Senan's - in the Munster championship things only got easier for the Kerry men who beat Cork champions Kilshannig 2-11 to 2-3 in the quarter-final, before blowing away Michael Cusacks from Clare in the semi-final on a score of 3-20 to 0-1 and then Mullinahone from Tipperary 3-13 to 1-1.

Na Gaeil have a couple of big names in their ranks who will be familiar to football fans, with Kerry seniors Jack Barry and Diarmuid O'Connor part of their set up, but others like Dara Devine, who hit 1-3 in the Munster final, Andrew Barry bagged 1-1 and the man of the match in the Munster decider and James O’Connor, who got their third goal in that win - also needing to be watched by the Kilmaine defence tomorrow afternoon.

Kilmaine have overcome adversity already this season; having to shake off the disappointment of losing the county final to Castlebar Mitchel's second string, they regrouped and romped their own way through the Connacht championship, seeing off Galway champions Glenamaddy in the quarter final 4-8 to 2-11, before beating Roscommon's kingpins, Ballinameen, in the semi-final and then taking apart Sligo champions St Micheal's in the Connacht final 5-18 to 0-3.

Kilmaine will be looking to call on experience and youth to drive them on tomorrow afternoon with the experienced Pat Kelly and up-and-coming star Oisin Mullin key men in their set up. But there are plenty of others who will be ready to step up to the plate and ensure that the Kerry men don't get it all their own way with the likes of David Hughes, Jarlath Mullin, Matthew Keady, Adam Barrett, Colin Hughes and Tomás Fahy all ready, willing and able to do their all for the south Mayo men.

Their management team led by David Loughlin, Padraig Flannery and John Donnellan have done a great job in getting their men back up and running after the pain of defeat in the Mayo final and going on to win the Connacht crown and they will have been planning for the last number of weeks how best to ambush the highly-fancied Kerry outfit and book a place in Croke Park in a few weeks' time.


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