St Dominic’s can finally cross winning line

Callington Ltd Roscommon IFC Final:
St Dominic’s v Éire Óg on Sunday in Dr Hyde Park at 2.30 pm

St Dominic’s return to familiar ground on Sunday when they contest their third intermediate football final in a row. The Knockcroghery club will be hoping to finally get their hands on the Jimmy Murray Cup this time around. Standing in their way this year are an improving Éire Óg team who will prove dangerous opponents.

St Dominic’s have been unbeaten en route to this final. They have proven consistent throughout the campaign. With a number of players who were absent earlier in the campaign now back in action, St Dominic’s are in great shape. There is no doubt that they have justified their tag as favourites to win the competition this year. Most supporters of the Knockcroghery club would say they probably needed a test before going into a final and they certainly got that against Fuerty in the semi-final.

St Dominic’s have been rightly praised over the past three years for their prowess in midfield and attack, but what manager Tomás Gilleran and his selectors may have enjoyed most from the semi-final was the fact that defensive solidity was key to their win against Fuerty in what was a very difficult assignment.

Mark Miley continues to exert his considerable influence from between the posts. He is a vital cog in this Dominic’s side. Eoin McCormack and Micheal Byrne have been excellent in defence and the return of Jack Lohan at centre-back has strengthened the team.

Paddy Fallon and Tom Appleby will probably start in the middle of the park, while up front Keith Doyle will likely lead the attack from centre half-forward. The county man is improving all the time. Daire Keenan and Darren Donnelly will hope to get the vital scores, with veteran Conor Fallon chomping at the bit on the bench.

Éire Óg have also remained unbeaten during what has been a very good championship for Paul Hunt’s men. They’ve arguably come into this final under the radar and will be quietly confident they can cause an upset. In the semi-final they played well against St Croan’s, scoring a goal at just the right time and winning in the end by a point.

The club has been going really well this year and they have a lot of talented young players. Ian Burke is an impressive goalkeeper while Joseph Hester has been having a great year in defence. Jamesie Greene and Enda Crawley will probably start in the middle of the field and both are talented young players. Up front, there is a mixture of youth and experience. Conor Cox is the main man of course, and he and the evergreen Ross Nolan will play prominent roles, while Jason Doory and Liam Creaton have both been doing well in this championship.

Éire Óg, amalgamated with Michael Glavey’s, won the Division One minor final recently, and last weekend they were involved in that thrilling Division 2 U-20 final against Elphin/Ballinameen, so there is a great buzz in the club at the moment. They will travel with confidence to Hyde Park on Sunday.

Sport can be cruel – and if Dominic’s show any complacency or have an off-day then Éire Óg will take full advantage. However, St Dominic’s look to have the edge. There is a widespread expectation that the painful memories of those extra-time defeats to St Faithleach’s last year and to Oran in 2020 will drive them on this Sunday.

It would be a shock if St Dominic’s were not to win this game and bring the cup named after Knockcroghery’s finest back to the village on Sunday night.

Prediction: St Dominic’s.