IFC Preview: St. John's v St. Farnan's

Intermediate final preview: St John’s vs St Farnan’s 

Few would have predicted today’s final pairing at the outset of the Kennedy’s Intermediate Championship last August; but here we are with either St John’s and St Farnan’s 60 minutes or so away from a ticket to the Belfry Senior Championship.

Ten teams set out for glory at the start of the campaign but only two remain, while contenders Shamrock Gaels and Geevagh - favourites to win both of their semi-final ties - failed to get past the final four.

In terms of our finalists, St Farnan’s campaign has been highly impressive and while their progression to the final is somewhat of a surprise, they are fully deserving of their crack at glory today.

St John’s advancement to the final is less of a surprise given the fact that they had been a Senior club up until 2015. The Carraroe-based side are full of pedigree, and have integrated the likes of youngsters Brian McGowan and Paul McNamara into their squad in recent years to further enhance their title credentials.

St Farnan’s have been the form team of this year’s campaign and the men from the west are full value for their place in today’s final. Advancing from their group thanks to a gritty defeat of neighbours Easkey, they accounted for Bunninadden and Geevagh with relative ease in the knockout stages and with such a swell of momentum behind them, few would be surprised if St Farnan’s went all the way today. They have brought through some talented minor sides in recent years and are now reaping the rewards of their hard work at underage level.

This novel pairing is likely to lead to a very interesting battle today. In the middle third, the experience of James Murphy and David Rooney comes up against the exciting prospect that is Patrick O’Connor, while St Farnan’s will aim to quell the influence of the highly impressive St John’s playmaker Brian McGowan on the 40.

Alan Keane’s free-scoring from corner-forward has been central to St John’s season, and St Farnan’s will have to stifle his influence on proceedings to have a chance of clinching the title.

At the other end, James Hynes will aim to carry St Farnan’s scoring threat while Finnian Cawley will be central to St Farnan’s gameplan, wherever the adaptable former county minor plays this afternoon.

St John’s have certainly tightened their defence in recent weeks. Having conceded 1-14 to Enniscrone/Kilglass in their first championship game, they have conceded 1-8, 0-9 and 0-8 in their last three games against St Patrick’s, Castleconnor and Shamrock Gaels. Indeed, they only conceded two points from play against Shamrock Gaels in their semi-final win, and it will be interesting today to see if they can continue their defensive efficiency.

The experience of Charlie Harrison could be vital for St John’s in what promises to be a close encounter, with Harrison hoping to help his side to a first Intermediate title since 2001 - on that occasion, manager Dara McGarty along his selectors Michael McNamara and Fergal were to the fore for the Sligo town side. In trying to win this year’s title, this is their fourth game against west Sligo opposition.

 

St Farnan’s won the 2007 instalment of the competition, and will be hoping to bring only a second ever Intermediate Championship back with them to west Sligo this evening. There could be a hurling and football double on the cards for some St Farnan’s players, with Western Gaels in the Senior Hurling decider.

St John’s are favourites and few would bat an eyelid if they were to go all the way, but St Farnan’s are more than capable of causing another upset.

Both teams have improved as the season has progressed, so that should mean an exciting final is in store in the battle to reach the top tier.

St John’s path to the final

IFC Group Three Round One: St John’s 2-17 Enniscrone/Kilglass 1-14

IFC Group Three Round Three: St John’s 3-12 St Patrick’s 1-8

IFC Quarter-final: St John’s 2-8 Castleconnor 0-9

IFC Semi-final: St John’s 0-11 Shamrock Gaels 0-8

St Farnan’s path to the final

IFC Group Two Round Two: St Farnan’s 0-12 Easkey 0-8

IFC Group Two Round Three: Geevagh 1-12 St Farnan’s 1-10

IFC Quarter-final: St Farnan’s 1-13 Bunninadden 2-6

IFC Semi-final: St Farnan’s 1-16 Geevagh 0-12



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