Tooreen look to claim hat-trick of Connacht titles

GAA: Connacht IHC Final

The Blue Devils from Tooreen will be heading back to the familiar fields of Athleague on Sunday afternoon looking to create a small bit of history and take another step towards their ultimate goal of reaching an All Ireland Intermediate Hurling Championship Final.

Thoughts of a date in Croke Park will be firmly at the back of all involved minds this weekend as there is one big job to do first and that is to claim a historic third Connacht Intermediate Hurling title on the bounce (there was no 2020 competition, with Tooreen winning in 2019 and 2021 ) - but such is the progress the east Mayo side have made outside of the county in recent years, they are right to believe they can get all the way to the big day, if the ball bounces their way.

Tooreen have had a few weeks off to rest up and get ready for this final after a hectic schedule of games since claiming the Mayo title, seeing off Roscommon champions Four Roads in style in the Connacht quarter-final on a score of 2-23 to 0-14, the following weekend it was the Kings of London who came calling and once again Tooreen were not found wanting beating St Gabriels in style to set up Sunday's showdown with Galway champions Killimor.

The Galway champions come straight into the final of the provincial competition having beaten Meelick-Eyrecourt in the Galway Intermediate Final a few weeks back in Duggan Park in Ballinasloe.

They edged that one in a low scoring affair by 0-13 to 0-9 with midfielder Eoin McEvoy chipping in with nine points and centre-half-foward Jack O'Meara getting three points in a game that was contest in very heavy conditions. Along with McEvoy and O'Meara, the likes of Kevin Hand and Shane Whelan are other players that Ray Larkin's side will have to keep a close eye on in this outing.

Tooreen will hope the break since their semi-final will have given Shane Boland enough time to heal up after having had to go off at half-time in their semi-final win over St Gabriels, and another of their walking wounded from that game Kenny Feeney will also be looking to have gotten rid of the knock that saw him have to leave that game late on.

At the back Tooreen are a teak tough and experienced unit, with the likes of Stephen Coyne, Joe Boyle, David Kenny and Michael Morley all men who know how to do their jobs right at the top level of the game. Cathal Freeman, Seán Kenny and Daniel Huane will be looked to, to get a firm foundation in the middle third offering protection to their defence along with offering assistance to their forward line and letting them do damage.

If Boland and Kenny are fit it will be a big boost to the Tooreen attack alongside Liam Larkin, Eoin Delaney and Fergal Boland, who are all capable of having big outings and putting the ball over the bar or to the back of the net when they get the chance.

Tooreen know the any side coming out of Galway can't and won't be taken lightly, but they also know if they stick to their process they have what it takes to get the job done and claim another Connacht title.


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