The Charlestown Sarsfield cavalcade will be making its way to Pearse Park, Longford, this Sunday where they will be dreaming of a place in this year’s All Ireland Intermediate Championship Club final. Standing in the Mayo and Connacht champions ways is Fr Rock’s, Cookstown from Tyrone. The Ulster men will be bringing with them on Sunday one of the most recognisable figures in recent GAA history, Eoin Mulligan. The bleach blonde full forward brings with him all the experience that being part of a three time All Ireland winning team comes with and will be the man, all of Charlestown will be looking to shut down. And the rest of his team-mates will also bring the experience of actually winning this competition in 2010, but were relegated to intermediate in Tyrone and have found themselves back in the intermediate grade. Charlestown are more used to senior competition having claimed the intermediate title at their first time of asking following their shock relegation in 2011. Sunday offers Charlestown a chance to make it into an All Ireland final for the first time, having come close in 2002 when they lost out in the senior last four to Nemo Rangers, while Fr Rock’s will be looking to make it back to the middle grades showpiece for the second time in three years.
While the Ulster men have Eoin Mulligan in their armoury for Sunday, the Charlestown men have a Mulligan of their own which could prove decisive on Sunday. Anthony Mulligan has become one of the real stars of the show for the Sarsfields men since last summer and he will be more than a handful for the Fr Rock’s men in the full forward line as the likes of Burrishoole. Gortletteragh, Bunninadden will attest to.
Denis Kearney’s men have had a good two months to let their knocks and strains clear up ahead of this game and it was needed as at the tail end of last year they had list of injury problems that was growing with every game, they should have the likes of Sean Morris, Kevin Duignan and David Caffery back in contention, while the return late in the year of David “Ginger” Tiernan has added an extra bit of experience and know-how if needed from the bench. But they have plenty of quality throughout the side with Darragh McMeel, Aidan and Dermot Higgins, Tom Parsons, Enda Casey, Richie Haran, Mark Cafferey and Ollie Conway all more than capable of stepping up to this Sunday’s test
Tough paths to final
The Ulster men have overcome the Armagh, Monaghan, and Down champions to get this far after winning their county title, while Charlestown have seen off the best of Galway, Leitrim and Sligo.
In the Ulster final Fr Rock’s were taken to extra time by Warrenpoint from Down and came out winners by 3-13 to 1-11 in the end, while they were one point winners over Doohamlet in the semi-final and had six points to spare over Killeavy in the semi-final. On their path to provincial glory, Leitrim champions Gortletteragh pushed Charlestown fairly hard in the semi-final, while they had to pull out all the stops to see off Bunninadden in the final, outscoring the Sligo me by 0-6 to 0-1 in the last third of the game to seal the win.
The Sarsfields men need only look at the team that they succeeded as intermediate champions in Mayo, Davitts who went on the very same journey last year all the way to Croke Park only to come up just short against the Kerry champions, Milltown-Castlemaine. All that stands between them and a place in the final in GAA headquarters is 60 minutes of football.
Charlestown v Fr Rock’s (Cookstown )
Pearse Park, Longford
Sunday, January 27
Throw in: 2pm