Limerick SFC Final - Dromcollogher-Broadford v Newcastle West preview

Jerome O’Connell

Reporter:

Jerome O’Connell

IN a repeat of the 2004 final, Dromcollogher-Broadford meet Newcastle West in this Sunday’s (3.30) Limerick senior football championship final in the Gaelic Grounds.

IN a repeat of the 2004 final, Dromcollogher-Broadford meet Newcastle West in this Sunday’s (3.30) Limerick senior football championship final in the Gaelic Grounds.

IN a discussion about Sunday’s county senior football final, recently, one Dromcollogher-Broadford man laid it bare for Newcastle West.

The magpies have of course beaten their western rivals in recent times.

But the quick reply said much about Sunday’s decider in the Irish Wire sponsored championship.

“How many trophies have ye,” said the proud Drom-Broadford man with a hearty laugh.

In five simple words, Sunday’s final was analysed.

And, that’s why Dromcollogher-Broadford are the 4/6 favourites with the bookies to collect their sixth Limerick SFC.

The favourites tag rests with Mike Fahy’s men despite losing to Newcastle West on the last three occasions.

Indeed many will think that Newcastle West could be a value bet at 6/4.

But any observer of Limerick club football for the last decade will always find it hard to bet against Drom-Broadford.

They are the standard-bearers of the 21st century - reaching the knockout stages in every year since winning the 1999 intermediate crown.

Their last Limerick success was in 2009 and they appear to have come back rejuvenated this year.

The addition of former Kerry U-21 coach Jerome Stack has been key. He previously played in the Limerick championship with Adare and his knowledge of the local scene and his driven enthusiasm appears to have reproduced the best from Drom-Broadford.

If anything their opening round loss to Newcastle West in the group stages worked to further focus the minds.

In the knowledge that there wasn’t much more room for error, Drom-Broadford have been back to their previous best with six successive wins.

And, that was without key defenders Tommy Stack (shoulder) and Mikey Clancy (broken bone in leg).

They realigned with Tom McLoughlin switching to full back and inter-county panellist Eoin Barry filling the No6 shirt.

Garrett Noonan is now an attacking wing back.

Of course there defensive unit always has the protection of Gary Egan with the No14 always retreating to provide sweeper-like-cover across their half back line.

Midfield has always been strong with the five times champions with Jason Stokes and Seanie Buckley, with Micheal O’Sullivan providing cover.

Buckley, despite a hamstring strain, was inspirational in their quarter-final win over Galbally and will be one player that Newcastle West will have to target on Sunday.

In attack that Drom-Broadford have five players that have all reached double digits in the scoring charts from their seven games.

Derry McCarthy and Micheal Brosnan providing pace on the wings and both have lofted over some fine scores at crucial times.

Captain Pat Donnelly is the play-maker from centre forward and has proven reliable on frees.

They will then play with Ray Lynch and Micheal Reidy in a two-man full forward line.

In the past Newcastle West have operated with an extra man as cover in front of this duo and it paid dividend.

Only time will tell if Mike Quilligan, Gerry O’Sullivan an Co will opt for a similar tactic this time round and how Drom-Broadford will respond.

Drom-Broadford have given youth a go this year in certain games but one worry would be the lack of real game changers on their bench.

Hoping to force such a worry into place will be a Newcastle West side that are probably the most settled in the county over the past two years.

The experienced John Joe Sheehy has one of the county’s best full back lines in front of him with Michael O’Keeffe, Darragh Woods and Michael Dowling all tight markers.

Around the middle third they will need to get on top and here Stephen Kelly and the youthful Iain Corbett will be key, along with Shaun Browne and Stephen Nix.

Drom-Broadford in possession are hard to stop so winning primary ball and moving it at pace will be crucial for Newcastle West.

Fast ball into their inside forward line will be needed where the Quilligan brothers and James Kelly will look to run at the Drom rearguard.

They will look to set out their stall from the off but of course last year’s semi-final was won with a storming second half.

It appears that Sunday may not be welcoming towards free-flowing top of the turf open football and both will need to be ready to battle.

Drom-Broadford are rarely out-battled.

Prediction - Dromcollogher Broadford

PATHS TO THE FINAL

NEWCASTLE WEST

Round 1: Newcastle West 1-10 Dromcollogher-Broadford 0-8

Round 2: Newcastle West 1-5, St Senans 0-7

Round 3: Newcastle West 3-8, Ballysteen 1-7

Round 4: Ballylanders 2-14, Newcastle West 0-9

Round 5:Newcastle West 0-10, Monaleen 0-8

Semi-final: Newcastle West 1-8, Ballysteen 0-9

DROMCOLLOGHER-BROADFORD

Round 1: Newcastle West 1-10 Dromcollogher-Broadford 0-8

Round 2: Dromcollogher-Broadford 1-10, Ballylanders 0-7

Round 3: Dromcollogher-Broadford 2-8, Monaleen 0-6

Round 4: Dromcollogher-Broadford 0-13 Ballysteen 2-6

Round 5: Dromcollogher-Broadford 0-15, St Senans 1-8

Quarter-final: Dromcollogher-Broadford 2-13, Galbally 1-11

Semi-final: Dromcollogher-Broadford 1-10, Fr Caseys 0-9