AIB All-Ireland Club IFC Semi-Final:
St Faithleach’s v Trim on Saturday in The Downs, Mullingar at 1.30 pm
‘We have great faith in ourselves’ – Burke
St. Faithleach’s will bounce into Mullingar for Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final showdown with Leinster champions Trim, brimming with confidence after their sensational Connacht final win against Naomh Anna, and hoping to book their place in the All-Ireland final in Croke Park on the weekend of February 12th/13th.
There hasn’t been much time for Faithleach’s to recuperate and refocus, but the good news is that manager Wally Burke says that there were no injuries after the Connacht final.
“We have no injuries, thank God. A few very sore bodies after the extra-time (in the Connacht final) but that’s all. The pace of the Connacht final was incredible for this time of the year but everyone is fit and rearing to go again,” he said.
The manner of that Connacht final win means that there is a buzz throughout the Faithleach’s squad and further afield.
“There is a major buzz in the squad and a huge buzz in the community too. It was real ‘Roy of the Rovers’ stuff. Our community are very proud of this bunch of lads and what they have achieved so far. This is a team that never knows when they are beaten and that’s a great quality to have,” Burke said.
“Trim are a good side. Their full-forward line scored 1-12 out of 1-16, so they are prolific. Alan Douglas is their captain and a very impressive player and leader. They have a serious midfield of Sean Fitzgerald and Rob Bourke, and a very good goalkeeper and full-back too. What impressed me about them is their physical strength. They are a very big team with nine or ten guys over six feet tall.
“Any team who gets to this stage is a good side. I was looking at the betting this week and we are the outsiders to win the title. But we have great faith in ourselves and the Connacht final win will give us even more belief.
“There is huge interest in this match in the local community. There are people coming home from England who were not able to come the last day and we are going to go up there and embrace the occasion and give it our best shot. I like the venue too. It’s a good pitch and perfect for a game like this. It would be great to get to a final and follow the likes of Michael Glavey’s and St. Croan’s,” he concluded.
Faithleach’s have one thing that is so important going into any championship game – and that’s momentum.
If they are to overcome Trim it will have to be a whole team effort. Depending on Diarmuid and Ciaráin Murtagh and Conal Kennelly will not be enough. But there were good performances against Naomh Anna from Karl Nerney, Dave Rooney, Jonathan Hussey and sub Cian Glennon – amongst others – so that will give them hope.
Trim have some outstanding performers, not least Aaron Lynch at full-forward, who scored 1-7 in the Leinster final. James Togher at centre half-back has plenty of inter-county experience.
Diarmuid Murtagh will be key man once again. When he plays as he did at times in the Connacht final, there is no defender capable of marking him. Ultimately, Faithleach’s will have to play the game of their lives to win. It might be just one step too far.