Creggs hoping to continue fairytale campaign

AIB Connacht Club JFC Final: Creggs v Louisburgh in Kiltoom on Sunday at 2.15 pm

Another chapter in Creggs’ fairytale season can be written this Sunday when they face Mayo kingpins Louisburgh in Kiltoom in the Connacht junior final. To win this junior title will be a tough ask as the Mayo champions are traditionally very strong at this level but it is a task that is not beyond the men from Creggs.

 The tough passage against Kilglass Gaels after a replay in the county final and the narrow victory over Sligo champions St. Michaels in the provincial semi-final have stood to this Creggs team who have been particularly impressive throughout this championship. The resilience that they have shown, particularly in their last three championship games, will be a major asset as they prepare for the challenge of the Mayo men on Sunday.

   The Mayo side will come into the final following a one point win in their semi-final against Galway champions Oranmore/Maree. In a bizarre game, the Mayo men won by 0-15 to 3-5 with Padraig Prendergast landing a 60 yard free late in the contest to clinch the win, after the Galway side had scored three second half goals. At one stage in that second half Louisburgh led by 0-11 to 0-3.

  The Mayo side had coasted through their own county junior championship putting up some very impressive tallies but in the county final they just squeezed by Balla by a point (0-10 to 0-9).

   They have plenty of excellent players not least centre half-forward and captain Kevin Gibbons who scored six points from play in the semi-final against Oranmore/Maree. His clash with James McKeague will be a crucial one in terms of the possible outcome.

  Marcus O’Malley and Eugene O’Toole will anchor the vital full-back and centre half-back positions for Louisburgh. At midfield, Tom Dawson and Padraig O’Malley form a very strong partnership. Padraig Prendergast is an accurate free taker and Paul McDonnell and Austin O’Malley are dangerous attackers.

  Creggs come in to this final on a high after a great win against St. Michael’s of Sligo a couple of weeks ago in the semi-final. James McKeague led by example that day and he will have a crucial role to play again this Sunday. Eugene Hanley and Kieran Dowd will also have important jobs to shore up the defence.

  Colin Canny and Tom Fleming will be hoping to get the better of the Louisburgh midfield partnership. Up front, Shane Dowd will lead the attack but Enda O’Rourke, Kevin Gavin and Enda Conneran will also have to weigh in with those all-important scores.

  Creggs will have been looking across the parish border to their neighbours Fuerty who went on to contest an All-Ireland club final at junior level just a few years ago and they will feel that they can repeat that feat.

   Playing at Kiltoom is also a boost to them and if they can reproduce the form that we have seen at times in the county finals and again against St. Michael’s, then there is no reason why they can’t make history and take that Connacht title. It will take a big performance, but they can do it. Prediction: Creggs.