This Saturday evening, Dromcollogher-Broadford meet Fr Caseys in the Limerick SFC semi-final in a rematch of their 2009 county final meeting.
Strangely, Dromcollogher-Broadford and Fr Caseys have managed to avoid each other since they met in the 2009 county senior football final.
That final needed a refixture of course and Saturday at 6.30 in Mick Neville Park in Rathkeale will no doubt bring memories flooding back for Abbeyfeale’s Thomas Cahill.
The former inter-county man suffered a broken leg in the initial encounter in the Gaelic Grounds. But after along fight back to full fitness, Cahill is back in the Fr Caseys engine room this season.
On Saturday, Cahill and his Abbeyfeale colleagues will be looking to overturn that final result when Drom-Broadford were 0-9 to 0-7 winners.
Indeed, Fr Caseys haven’t had much luck against Drom-Broadford in recent years, especially in knockout games.
Indeed the last time that Fr Caseys defeated Drom-Broadford in a knockout tie was in the county final of 2000.
That was Drom-Broadford’s inaugural year in the senior ranks and they have since won five county titles and are appearing in their 13th successive knockout phase.
‘Caseys were county champions in 2006 but are now back with a youthful team chasing their first Fr William Casey Cup.
“We are happy to be where we are but Saturday is the big one,” explained Fr Caseys manager Tom Fitzgerald.
He reported that the men from the Kerry border could be without some key players due to injury.
Mike Sheehan is to miss the remainder of the year as he has returned to the US for studies.
On top of that Eoin Joy, Tom Collins, John Lenihan and David Ward are all in a race against time to be fit for the semi-final.
“It is going to be a tall order for us but we will give it a go,” said Fitzgerald.
Fr Caseys prepared for Saturday’s encounter with a challenge game against Carberry Rangers of Cork last weekend.
While the Abbeyfeale men sailed through their group with a 100% record, Fitzgerald is on high alert that the standard of matches in the other group was higher.
“We know that we are in for a real battle. All the games in the other group were a real battle and we appeared to be in the weaker group - especially when you see Ballysteen putting 19 points on St Kierans,” he explained.
“It is a 50-50 game I suppose. Everyone has gradually got better as the season has gone on but it’s all about Saturday now,” he said.
The bookies have made the Abbeyfeale men the 8/11 favourites, with Dromcollogher-Braodford available at 11/8.
“We haven’t beaten them in a serious knockout game for 12 years. We know that Drom-Broadford will be a big stumbling block in our way,” outlined Fitzgerald.
“We are just hoping that we play to our best and that maybe we will sneak it. You won’t beat Drom-Broadford by very much and that’s for sure.”
Meanwhile in the Dromcollogher-Bradford camp Mike Fahy is managing the side for the first time and brought in former Kerry U-21 trainer Jerome Stack to coach the side.
“A different voice can make a difference and fellas react differently to new ideas,” explained Fahy.
His side lost to Newcastle West in round one but have bounced back to advance undefeated to the last four.
“We have lost in the semi-final for the last two years,” he pointed out.
Former inter-county man Tommy Stack has missed much of the campaign with a shoulder injury but will be among the subs on Saturday, with Mikey Clancy remaining out injured.
All others report for action. Captain Pat Donnelly, Tom McLoughlin, Jason Stokes, Micheal Reidy, Ray Lynch and Stack were all involved in the 2000 final and remain key.
“They are amazing club men. It is unbelievable to come back year after year and some are involved in soccer as well so it’s all year round dedication,” praised their manager.
“They are a great influence and we are trying to bring through some young lads while we have that experience in the team,” outlined Fahy.
On Saturday, they will face their greatest test of the season.
They eased past Galbally in the quarter-final without hitting top gear.
But they are battle hardened after games against Ballysteen, Monaleen, St Senans in their group run-in.
They got caught by Monaleen and Newcastle West in the last two seasons at this stage and will be determined to return to the final after a two year absence. If Drom-Broadford are ultra dependable, Fr Caseys are somewhat inconsistent and still untested in the heat of battle.
Prediction - Dromcollogher-Broadford
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