Western battle in U-21 final

JUST like 2009, western rivals Fr Caseys and Newcastle West clash in this premier U-21 football championship final.

JUST like 2009, western rivals Fr Caseys and Newcastle West clash in this premier U-21 football championship final.

That decider of two years ago was played in Mountcollins and after a fiery affair victory went to the Abbeyfeale men.

This time round the final moves down the mountains to Tournafulla and another tight game is expected.

Indeed when they met in the opening round of this season’s group stages back in the end of September is was Newcastle West that prevailed 1-11 to 2-7.

But both sides are vastly different since then.

Fr Caseys are chasing a hat-trick of U-21 crowns and an eighth ever title for the Fealeside club with their first all the way back in 1969.

They have dominated the grade for the last five years - supplying a constant line of players to Limerick U-21 panels.

Newcastle West, meanwhile, are bidding to end a club famine at this level and despite near misses in recent years.

Indeed the last of their six crowns was in 1988.

Fr Caseys are managed by Ger O’Connor with Brendan Walsh, Tom Cahill, John Lenihan and Liam McNally.

The light blues are captain by Padraig McEnery and will look to Donagh Kelly and John Browne to inspire others.

Fresh from winning the premier minor championship, Eoin Kelly, Shane O’Connor and Keith Hartnett chase a unique double on the field of play.

But the Abbeyfeale men will be without Derry O’Connor (suspended), Limerick senior footballer Michael Sheehan, who is studying abroad in the US and the injured Conor Healy.

Others key to their third successive victory would be Eoin McEnery and Michael Roche.

Newcastle West are managed by Tom Kelleher, Michael Browne and Stephen Kelly.

Four of their panel was in the starting line-up when the club contested the county senior football final last month.

Paul Hannon, Ian Corbett and Thomas Quilligan will all start but a doubt surrounds James Kelly, who has been in and out of the club’s U-21 side this season.

Others likely to lead from the front of the men in black and white are Jamie Lee, Mark O’Sullivan, Kieran McMahon and Brian O’Doherty.

The magpies are back boned by members of their 2009 county minor winning team.

Newcastle West defeated Hospital-Herbertstown in the quarter-final and then Pallasgreen in the semi-final after they have advanced through the group with just one defeat to Shannon Gaels.

Fr Caseys overcame Naomh Brid in the quarter-final and then eased past Shannon Gaels in the semi-final.

One interested spectator is likely to be newly appointed Limerick U-21 football manager Johnny Cummins, who will make his way across the county to source some fresh talent for his 2012 panel.