AIB Connacht IFC Final:
St. Dominic’s v Dunmore MacHales on Saturday in Kiltoom at 1.30 pm
St. Dominic’s will be bidding to follow in the footsteps of St. Faithleach’s by defeating Galway opponents to lift the Connacht intermediate title when they meet Dunmore MacHales in the 2022 final on Saturday in Kiltoom.
Following the last-minute postponement of their semi-final against Aughnasheelin, the Roscommon champions have only had a week to prepare for this decider. However, playing in the familiar surroundings of Kiltoom will surely be an advantage for Tomás Gilleran’s men.
St. Dominic’s have emerged from a tough Roscommon intermediate championship campaign where they defeated Éire Óg in a hard-fought decider to end three years of final disappointment to bring the Jimmy Murray Cup back to Knockcroghery.
Last Saturday against Aughnasheelin, St Dominic’s moved the ball very well from back to front, and got some great scores including a stunning goal manufactured by Cian Kelly and finished brilliantly by Daire Keenan.
More of the same will be required on Saturday against Dunmore MacHales, a club who were once the kingpins of Galway senior club football. After a period in the doldrums they are back at the top level now, and after good wins against St. Molaise Gaels of Sligo and Ballyhaunis they will fancy their chances of coming to Kiltoom and leaving with the cup.
The Galway side have a mix of experienced players and younger recruits. Their captain and centre half-back Matthew Reddington has been a revelation this year.
Other Dunmore players St. Dominic’s will have to watch out for include Sean Murray, Joe Burke, Martin Cleary, Niall Rattigan and Padraig Costello.
St. Dominic’s will line out in familiar formation with the excellent Mark Miley between the posts. His kick-outs and leadership will be a vital component for his club again this Saturday. Eoin McCormack, who will lead from full-back, has been outstanding this year and is a real calming influence for his side.
The Dominic’s half-back line of Cian Kelly, Jack Lohan and Kyran Dockery is arguably their strongest sector. Paddy Fallon and Tom Appleby will be in the engine room and they have been excellent this season too.
Up front, Daire Keenan and Darren Donnelly will carry the mantle of the scorers-in-chief. Keith Doyle has been tremendous this season and is improving all the time. He needs to play to his very best again on Saturday. Tommy Hurley and Karol Feerick will also have huge roles to play with the likes of Conor Fallon and others ready to come off the bench.
Not having seen Dunmore in the flesh it is hard to be definitive about how good they are, but from speaking to sources, the sense is that these sides are quite evenly matched.
St. Dominic’s are capable of playing some great football and are well equipped to take this title. If they can turn last Saturday’s first-half display into a 60-minute performance then the Connacht title can stay in Roscommon with the cup making the very short journey to Knockcroghery on Saturday night.
Prediction: St. Dominic’s.