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Drom fancied to win Battle of the West

DROMCOLLOGHER-Broadford are hoping to have Jason Stokes available for this western semi-final, which is a repeat of the 2004 county final.

DROMCOLLOGHER-Broadford are hoping to have Jason Stokes available for this western semi-final, which is a repeat of the 2004 county final.

They needed a replay to overcome the magpies in that final and there is every suggestion that this semi-final will be just as tight.

Certainly the availability of Stokes would be a big boost, with Newcastle West not physically strong in the middle third. Stokes was red carded last weekend in their quarter-final win over St Patrick’s but has appealed that decision to the County Hearings Committee, this Friday night.

Another boost to Drom-Broadford would be the return of Seanie Buckley, who has missed their recent wins due to injury.

Two defeats will be to the forefront of the Drom-Broadford mindset - last season’s semi-final loss to Monaleen and the defeat to Newcastle West in round two of the group stage.

There will be no greater desire than to stop Newcastle West from securing two wins against them this season.

Although Moss McCarthy’s men lost their opening two games of the season, they have regrouped with four wins on the trot - the only side in that kind of form.

Last weekend’s game against St Pats should stand to them.

For their part, Newcastle West have kept themselves sharp with challenge games and confidence is high in Mike Quilligan’s squad.

With so many youngsters sprinkled across their team, confidence is everything.

On the forward foot they are most impressive with a number of scoring options. But they will have to out-battle Limerick’s most battle-hardended side to gain sufficient primary possession.

Their leaders will have to come to the fore with Stephen Kelly, Mike McMahon and Shaun Browne needing big games to inspire those around them.

The Quilligan brothers will convert any frees that are earned but scores from play will also be needed if they are to upset the odds.

Clearly inter-county brothers James and Stephen Kelly should play crucial roles in attack but both have carried knocks in recent times.

At the other end of the field, Michael O’Keeffe and Michael Dowling will have to be at their tigerish best when they come up against Ray Lynch and Co, who always appear to come up with goals when the need is greatest.

Newcastle West have come a long way since this time last year when they only narrowly defeated Claughaun to avoid relegation.

They haven’t found the net with ease this season and that may need to change if they are to deprive Drom-Broadford of progression to another final in a year that marks the 10th anniversary of the first of their five titles in the last decade.

Story so far: Newcastle West have progressed to the last four unbeaten. They won four games and drew with Ballylanders to advance directly to the semi-finals. Drom-Broadford lost their opening two games but have won four on the bounce to reach this stage.

Key battle: The evergreen Tom McLoughlin remains the key figure for Drom-Broadford and will hold firm in the centre of defence as well as surging forward. The magpies are best when running at the opposition and could opt to give one of the Quilligan or Kelly brothers a roving role at No11.

Did you know? Former Claughaun stalwart Tom McGarry transferred from the city club to Drom-Broadford at the start of this season. He won championships with Claughaun in 1993, ‘95 and ‘96, when he was captain.

When they last met: On May 6, Newcastle West were 0-11 to 0-6 winners in round two of the group stages

Verdict: Dromcollogher-Broadford

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