Great minor final in prospect

A county minor football championship that is fully worthy of a county still celebrating last year’s splendid All-Ireland victory will culminate this Sunday where Padraig Pearses and St. Ciarán’s contest for victory at 1.45 pm.   This Padraig Pearses team, which won under 12, Féile, and under 14 championships earlier this decade, is undefeated this year and will run out onto Dr. Hyde Park on Sunday full of confidence and self-assurance.   St. Ciarán’s players too will emerge from the dressing rooms with their chests out: the team knows that it is the best underage team to have represented a rapidly growing club for many years and that it has impressed everyone in Roscommon on its journey to this county final.   Both clubs point to strength-in-depth as major assets, and most commentators will agree that neither club relies too heavily on its ’06 All-Ireland championship winner. James McKeague is a stalwart at midfield for St. Ciarán’s, and Niall Carthy is integral to Pearses’ defensive stability; but both sides boast balance and a reservoir talent. Shane Mulvey is one of Pearses’ low-profile players who will make a big impression on Sunday; similarly Ciarán’s could afford to leave players like Niall Keenan and Keelan Boyle on the bench at the start of its semi-final victory over St. Brigid’s.   Éanna Ryan, Aaron Feehily, and county player Alan Duffy will be important in attack for Padraig Pearses whilst St. Ciarán’s will look to centre-forward Enda O’Rourke, free-taker Niall Kilroy, and Colin Connaughton for scores.    The battle between St. Ciarán’s centre-back Brian Keenan and Duffy will be seminal: if the Ciarán’s captain contains the Pearses number 11 he will probably be lifting the cup at the end of the game. The league meeting between these two sides resulted in a one-point victory for the Taughmaconnell team last spring. The margin in this game will be similarly narrow, and Pearses are on a winning streak, so expect a cracker.   Roscommon People prediction: Naomh Chiarán.