Pearses and Four Roads set for battle


Kepak Roscommon SHC Final Four Roads v Pádraig Pearses on Sunday in Athleague at 3 pm

With only seven teams in the competition, local derbies are common in the Roscommon SHC and this Sunday is no different as Pádraig Pearses take on Four Roads to see who will take home the Mickey Cunniffe Cup for 2017. The odds strongly favour Four Roads to take their 34th title and to pick up where they left off with an incredible eight titles in a row until they were beaten by Oran last year.

  Pearses will be looking for their first title since 1987 and only their third title in all. Since they last won in 1987 they have been beaten in eight finals including three replays, two of which were against Four Roads in 2012 and in 2015.

  Looking at the form in this year’s championship, Four Roads are the deserved favourites but Pearses have some excellent young players and if they can come to the fore on Sunday they have a real chance. Four Roads have cruised to the final dealing with all comers with relative ease. But Pearses’ two games against Oran in the semi-final will have sharpened them up and having disposed of the champions, they can now set their sights on what would be a famous win.

   It has been a revitalised Four Roads that we have seen in the championship this year. The return of Micheal Kelly has been a major boost and he has slotted back seamlessly into his position at centre half-back. With Shane Curley and Johnny Mulry in the half-back line, it looks a very strong base for the former champions. Cormac Coyle and Mark McLoughlin will start in the full-back line in front of David Dowd and Conor Coyle and Johnny Moran will form a very solid looking midfield partnership but it’s in attack where Four Roads look very strong. Johnny Coyne and Padraig Kelly have led from the front so far this year and it’s an area where Four Roads have plenty of options.

  Pearses will have the very experienced and effective Padraig Dolan between the posts while Karl Feehily, Eoghan Costello, Paul Dolan and Jimmy Donoghue will need to be strong in defence.

  Thomas Seale may need a new partner at midfield as David Loughnane is a doubt and it may well be prolific young scorer Daniel Glynn, although Mike Donoghue is also an option there. Shane Naughton is certain to lead Pearses’ attack while Cathal Kelly and young Daniel Staunton will be hoping to add punch to the full-forward line.

  It is great to see several young and talented players on the Pearses team and if they can throw off the shackles that have impeded Pearses teams in the past, they have a great chance. However, looking both teams on paper I cannot get away from the strength of Four Roads in the half-back line and midfield, and with Johnny Coyne and Padraig Kelly in fantastic form this year, it all points to a 34th title for the men from Tisrara.

Prediction: Four Roads