Four Roads to seal it on Saturday?

Kepak Roscommon SHC Final Replay: Four Roads v Padraig Pearses in Athleague on Saturday at 4 pm

It was interesting to note the reactions of both sides after Sunday’s drawn County Hurling Final.

  Micheal Mulry, the Four Roads boss, was philosophical, although one sensed that he felt that his side had left this one behind them on the day. Joint manager Robbie Donoghue felt that Pearses had played very poorly and was thrilled to have got another chance this weekend.

  So the questions are: Can Pearses improve on last Sunday’s display? Or will Four Roads make no mistake this time?

  Following a poor first half, Four Roads could have been five or six points ahead at half-time. They missed two goal chances and hit five bad wides, which is uncharacteristic.  Pearses were able to hang on, and with Tomas Sweeney excellent from frees, they were always in touch.

  The introduction of Johnny Coyne looked to have been the key move of the game and he was superb when introduced for Four Roads. But all credit to Pearses, who stuck to their guns and got an unlikely draw in the end.

  On the Four Roads side, Noel Fallon is a superb net-minder and his worth was emphasised last Sunday with some super saves and some mighty puck-outs. Mark McLoughlin, Shane Curley and Micheal Kelly were excellent in defence and Micheal Kelly’s influence was once again felt, with two inspirational points from him.

  Johnny Moran and Cathal Dolan were excellent at midfield and Cathal Dolan, in particular, was outstanding. Eamon Mulry, David Dolan and sub Johnny Coyne were sharp up front.

  Micheal Mulry and his selectors will be under pressure to start Johnny Coyne, but I would be of the view that he makes an even bigger impact coming off the bench.

  As for Pearses, they will surely have to play better in this replay. Padraig Dolan got the nod last weekend in goals and he will retain his place. David Loughnane, Aidan Sweeney and Gavin Downey will lead the defence. At midfield, Tomas Seale did well last weekend but Pearses will want to do better in this sector.

  Up front we saw flashes of brilliance from the young guns, Adam Finnerty and Daniel Glynn, while Tomas Sweeney was outstanding from the placed ball. Cathal Kelly is a hugely influential performer for Pearses and one wonders where his best position is.

  Pearses were very disappointed at how they played in the drawn game and if they up their performance levels a number of notches they will be in with a chance, but Four Roads will know that they should have won last Sunday. They missed too many chances and that is unlikely to happen again.

  It promises to be another humdinger in Athleague and there will not be a lot in it but once again it is hard to look beyond the champions. I take them to collect their 8th title in a row at the second opportunity.

Match odds: Four Roads 4/6; Padraig Pearses 13/8; Draw 10/1.

Prediction: Four Roads.