St Senans Ian Ryan and Galbally's Frank Cussen pictured at a media event ahead of the Limerick IFC final
THE first of nine Limerick adult GAA championship titles is up for grabs this Friday evening (8.15) in Mick Neville Park
A return to the senior ranks is on the cards for Galbally or St Senans in this Griffins Coaches sponsored Limerick IFC Final.
Galbally are three years in the second tier, while the Foynes-Shanagolden side are five years outside the top flight.
Galbally last won this title in 2010, while St Senans were intermediate winners back in 2003.
The sides met in the final round of the group phase back on August 18 when St Senans were 1-13 to 2-9 winners in Kilmallock. That aside championship meeting between these two have not been regular.
The Limerick IFC winners will be in Munster club championship on October 29 when they will travel to Tipperary for a quarter final against Moycarkey-Borris, Kiladangan, Clonoulty-Rossmore or Clonmel Óg.
But before thoughts turn to the provincial championship, there is a titanic struggle ahead this Friday evening, where the curtain-raiser will be the county minor A football championship final between St Kierans and Na Piarsaigh at 6.30.
Prediction: St Senans
IAN RYAN: ST SENANS
Inter-county forward Ian Ryan captains St Senans into Friday’s night.
He is adamant that his team-mates are focused only on the challenge ahead and not getting drawn into their recent history that has seen them lose two finals and semi finals in the IFC.
”People are always saying we should have done this and should have done that but that’s sport,” he said of the last four season.
“Look at Adare (beat St Senans in last year’s final) - last year we lost to a much better team that us and they proved that when they beat Drom. The football standard is high at intermediate in Limerick and there are good teams so it’s not easy to win.” said Ryan.
St Senans were relegated from the Limerick SFC in 2012.
”You have one year to get out and then you are stuck,” he said.
”Look at our panel compared to 2012 when we were relegated and there are a lot of new faces - you have Conor Mullane, Darren Kavanagh, Anthony Russell and myself that have played senior, so it’s a relatively new team. It is a good grade to bring new players in,” said the captain.
He added: “When people think of Senans’, they think we are an old team on the road for a long time but our team is made of 22-23 year olds”.
”It would be huge for the parish and all the lads. Obviously every team wants to win a final. We just hope we can get over the line but we know we have to go and win it by working hard. Galbally will come with the same enthusiasm and energy,” stressed Ryan.
What of the favourites tag?
”Every time you look in the papers or talk to people and St Senans are there as favourites or in the top two every year but we are five year intermediate now,” pointed out Ryan.
What of Galbally?
“We played them in Kilmallock in the last group game and we were very lucky to win and a lot of people might say Galbally were the better team on the day. They have great players - James Ryan, Mike Donovan and a lot of strong footballers, who would have played senior championship. It goes down to the day and which team turns up.”
FRANK CUSSEN: GALBALLY
Twenty years ago Galbally were Limerick club football kingpins and defender Frank Cussen wants a return to those glory days for the south Limerick men.
“For young fellas looking up they need to see senior football - when I was a young fella it was all Galbally football. That’s what we want to aspire to achieve – it’s a good step up in intensity and mind-set for senior football and that’s something to relish,” said Cussen.
”The last couple of years we had been getting to quarter finals so it was a big step for us to get over the quarter final this year and the last night (semi final) we really showed in that last 10-15 minutes they we really wanted it,” he outlined.
Like their final opponents, Galbally have moulded a new-look team.
”We had a successful U-21 team two years ago that has come in and filled in a lot of places where older lads stepped away. Those lads have now come of age and it’s time for them to get back up senior football.”
Experience is key.
”We have shown a bit more maturity - others years we may have panicked in games and failed to close them out and lost by a point or two. This year we are more sure of ourselves and have closed out games - we beat Pallasgreen by a point and the semi final was tight until 10-15 minutes to go and we ended up winning by four or five points. In tight games we are coming out on top and that’s a testament to all the panel members who can hold their heads and get the scores,” he said.