Limerick MFC Final - Ballybrown v Fr Caseys preview

Jerome O’Connell

Reporter:

Jerome O’Connell

SURPRISE packet Ballybrown bid to deny Fr Caseys back-to-back premier minor football championship titles in this unique final pairing.

SURPRISE packet Ballybrown bid to deny Fr Caseys back-to-back premier minor football championship titles in this unique final pairing.

Neither side arrive in the final in Bruff at 2.15 this Saturday with an unbeaten record after a most competitive minor championship.

After the nine rounds of the group stages, there were still seven teams in contention and play-offs were needed.

The Abbeyfeale men went straight to the semi-finals, while Ballybrown defeated Oola and Na Piarsaigh to advance to the last four.

The momentum of the play-offs then saw Ballybrown defeat St Marys Sean Finns of Rathkeale in the semi-final.

The Rathkeale side had topped the group stages with just one defeat but the Clarina based club emerged 2-10 to 0-12 winners to book a first ever place in a premier minor football final.

Indeed this is the first season that Ballybrown have played in the top flight of the minor football championship.

Indeed the club’s didn’t affiliate an adult or U-21 football side this season, making their minor progress all the more remarkable.

It will be a busy few weeks for Bryan Griffin. He will be centre back on Saturday for the minors and then the following weekend will be centre forward for the club’s hurlers in the county intermediate final.

Also key to Ballybrown’s cause will be corner forward Tom Clancy, who has carried much of their scoring threat this season.

They will look to Cathal Flanagan, Robert Davoren, Lee Doolan and Andrew Cliffe.

They are managed by Patrick Hartigan and selectors Ed Shanahan and Leo Griffin.

Opponents, Fr Caseys are chasing a ninth county minor crown and a fifth of the last decade.

They are managed by Georgie Browne, Thomas Cahill, Brendan Walsh and Gerard O’Connor.

They have a top class goalkeeper in James O’Mara and defensive cover will be provided by Danny Hartnett, Tommy O’Keeffe and Peter Browne.

In midfield Daniel Daly and Darren Keane are strong.

The attacking talents will be led by TJ Lane, Chris Smith, Jamie O’Connor and Adrian Enright.

Lane, Smith, Daly, Keane, O’Mara and O’Keeffe were all in the winning team that defeated St Kierans in last year’s final and that experience could be key on Saturday.

When the sides met in the group stages Ballybrown were 2-10 to 0-10 winners in Clarina.

The Abbeyfeale men were already assured of their knockout place ahead of the final group game.

Nonetheless that will have them on high alert ahead of Saturday but still that must be favoured.