Can Athleague edge out the ‘wonder team’ of ’07?

Roscommon SHC semi-final replay: Oran v Athleague (Sunday, 14th October in Athleague at 3.30 pm; extra-time if required) The Form: Athleague played their first serious championship game in six weeks when they lined out in the drawn game last week – and would be the first to admit themselves that they were a little ring-rusty, especially in the first half. However they were much better in a very well-contested second half and last Sunday’s game should bring them on again.   Oran have been the wonder team of this championship. They have been written off so many times but have come back every time. They are a mighty team to score goals and they will surely get another brace at least at the weekend.  The odds: Athleague 8/11; Oran 5/4; draw 7/1. Top Scorers – Athleague: Mervyn Connaughton, Gary Fallon, Joe Fallon. Oran:  Gerry Fallon, Brian Flynn, Keith McDermott.  Key Players: Athleague: Mervyn Connaughton, Alan Cunniffe, Niall Connolly,  Gary Fallon, Davy Connell. Oran: Gerry Fallon, Brian Flynn, Francie Quine, Adrian Kelly (if fit), Mark Dwyer, Emmet Featherston. The Call: One Oran supporter – a  lady – said to me when leaving Athleague last Sunday: ‘You never side with Oran. We showed you today and other days too.’ And she is right of course. It has been an incredible rollercoaster for Oran in this year’s championship. They have played no less than 10 games already and that does not include the different periods of extra-time along the way.    In Gerry Fallon they have an inspirational player who is one of the finest in the county at present. They are not a one-trick pony though as Emmet Featherston is an excellent ‘keeper and Seamus Lawless and Mark Dwyer are playing well in defence.    Fallon is the main man in the centre while up front Francie Quine looks like he will be the main focus of the attack again and he will be looking for help from Brian Flynn and Keith McDermott in particular.    It will also be interesting to see if Adrian Kelly plays. He was togged out last Sunday but took no part in the game – but I suspect we will see the veteran at some stage on Sunday next.    Athleague took a while to get going on Sunday last and can be thankful to the brilliant Mervyn Connaughton that they are still in this  year’s championship. The captain was fantastic all through and he will need more help if his side are to get through to the final this time.   Colm Moran, Niall Connolly, David Delaney, Declan McGeeney, Gary Fallon and Tommy Reddington are all players with the experience to lead Athleague to victory.   I know the woman from Oran will be on my case again on Sunday – but I cannot look past Athleague again.    I am working on the theory that they will have needed last Sunday’s game badly after such a long lay-off. The lady from Oran knows well that I have been wrong about her beloved team before and will probably be wrong about them again, however I am taking Athleague to win this replay narrowly and earn a place against Padraig Pearses in the county final on Sunday week. Prediction: Athleague.