GAA Previews

Titles on the line as season finally nears end point

John Connolly


John Connolly


Titles on the line as season finally nears end point

Eamonn Duignan presents the Cup to St. Manchan's Darragh Gordon last year - can St. Manchan's defend the LH Heating U21 Championship title next Sunday?

Players, mentors and even fans may finally get to draw a little breath after next weekend when the last two major finals are down for decision.

Saturday sees the impressive Glencar/Manorhamilton face a formidable Corofin in a repeat of last year’s Connacht Minor Ladies Championship Final in St. Croan’s GAA pitch in Ballintubber, Roscommon.

Sunday sees the domestic GAA scene finally come to an end when St. Manchan’s and Fenagh Gortletteragh meet in the LH Heating U21 Championship Final in Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada, ending a year that, for some of the players involved, started with a Hastings Cup game in Cloone on January 2.

Of course, it is not really a close season as members of the County Senior panel are hard at work. And club players will be back early in January, once again starting on the road to either glory or heartbreak.

Glory is very much on the mind of three Leitrim teams next weekend - Glencar/Manorhamilton ladies are prodigiously talented and have swept all before them once more at underage level and they head into the Connacht Minor Final for the second year in a row full of confidence.

The problem is they meet a Corofin side from Galway who defeated them comfortably in this year’s final and who demolished Eastern Harps 10-21 to 2-2 in their semi-final. The north Leitrim girls had a much tougher passage against Clann na nGael but that may actually suit them better in a game where they will be outsiders.

Sunday’s U21 Final is anyone’s guess as neither of these teams have ever followed logic against each other. Both are unbeaten, both struggled against the unlucky Ballinamore Sean O’Heslin’s before piping them to book their place in the final.

Ryan O’Rourke is Fenagh Gortletteragh’s driving force while the experience of winning Senior Championships with Mohill must give St. Manchan’s a significant boost as well as the presence of county seniors in Keith Beirne, Keith Keegan, James Mitchell and Oisin Madden.

Add in the Harkin brothers and so many of their good Minor team and the odds would very much appear in St. Manchan's favour.

Yet Fenagh Gortletteragh have consistently upset the odds and in Jack Heslin, Oisin McLoughlin, Jack Gilheaney and so many others, they have the talent to cause an upset.

These games are traditionally close - expect more of the same next Sunday.