The final of ‘saints and ballers’

Blockbuster on the cards in intermediate decider

Mulryan Construction Roscommon IFC Final: St. Faithleach’s v St. Dominic’s on Sunday at Dr. Hyde Park at 3 pm

It is true to say that in recent years the Intermediate football final has produced by far the tightest games, the best football, and the closest contests on the club scene. Looking at this 2021 decider, all the ingredients are there for another cracker.

This final pairing is the one that most would have predicted. Now the question is: who will win the Jimmy Murray Cup and progress into the senior ranks for 2022?

In terms of form, both teams were in the same group and emerged with little fuss. In fact, when they met in Ballyleague, both clubs were already through to the quarter-finals but that game ended in a draw. So no clues there!

The fact that Faithleach’s were relegated two years ago was a bit of a shock and many predicted that they would bounce straight back last year. But the Ballyleague men found that it wasn’t as straightforward as they might have hoped and they ran into a well drilled Dominic’s team in the semi-final and came away empty-handed.

This year, Wally Burke’s men have been playing well, but in the quarter-final they were severely tested by Fuerty before emerging winners by a point in extra-time. There is a view that Faithleach’s will be a much more battle-hardened side on Sunday after surviving that battle.

In the semi-final they were cruising against Castlerea but they fell asleep in the second half and conceded 1-8 without reply. However, they finished the game in impressive fashion, scoring six points to see out the win.

It’s not long ago that St Faithleach’s were being considered as possible winners of the Fahey Cup. Any team with the players they have – and particularly Diarmuid and Ciaráin Murtagh – have to be given the most serious consideration. However, the loss of Brian Murtagh, Darragh Hussey and Cian Glennon has to be factored into the equation too.

Looking at both teams line by line, I am giving a hesitant nod to St. Dominic’s to win by a point or two and bring the Jimmy Murray Cup back to Knockcroghery. It promises to be another blockbuster.

Prediction: St. Dominic’s.