Regardless of how Sunday’s All Ireland Junior Club semi final between Kildare champions Two Mile House and their Monaghan counterparts, Emyvale, pans out it has certainly been a season to remember for ‘The House’.
Incredibly the side from the outskirts of Naas have won every competition they entered in 2013 starting off with the Dowling Cup, following up with the SFL Division 3 title along with promotion to the SFL Division 2 this season; then finally getting over the line to capture the Junior Football Championship title, adding the icing on the cake when defeating Hunterstown Rovers of Louth to capture the provincial title.
An amazing feat for such a small rural club but make no mistake they are not resting on their laurels and on Sunday they are bidding to make it all the way to Croke Park to represent club, county and province in the All Ireland final.
For manager Jarlath Gilroy it has certainly been a roller coaster season, and as Jarlath emphasises it is not over yet.
“We are really looking forward to it; we have a good panel of players and although it has been a long tough season trying to keep lads motivated nevertheless we know we will give it our all and with a bit of luck hopefully we can get over the line.”
Kildare defender and former All Star, Peter Kelly, will of course be missing on Sunday and Jarlath admits that his loss is immense.
“To be honest we were devastated over Peter’s loss. He went in for what we hoped would only see him out for four weeks but unfortunately for us and himself that has turned into four months.”
On the plus side, if there is one, Jarlath admitted that they have had plenty of time to re-organise and plan and while admitting his loss is immense nevertheless “we have to get on with it.”
The House opponents, Emyvale are by all accounts a serious side at this level, having four players on the county minor side that won the Ulster championship in 2013 and can boast of some top class players. Centre forward Ryan McAnespie who also led the Monaghan attack in 2013 is probably their star man but it would seem that over all they are a very strong outfit.
Two Mile House of course can boast of their own county minor men, in county captain Mark Sherry along with the hard working and dangerous front man Chris Healy. Both have been carrying knocks of late but are hopeful of being right on the day.
Overall Two Mile House are strong from one to 15. John Goff is a sound keeper and has been playing very well throughout this entire campaign while defenders William Burke, Matt Kelly, Nathan Sherry; the experienced Niall Browne can be a handful for any opponent while the aforementioned Mark Sherry and Chris Healy have the ability to unlock any defence; add in players of the calibre of Chris Julian Shane Darcy, Derren and Aidan Casey and there is little doubt that ‘The House’ are in this one with one hell of a chance.
Emyvale travelled across the ‘pond’ for their quarter final game where they took on John Mitchels in Birmingham back in mid-December and while they won by three points in the end (2-9 to 0-12) they had to dig deep to withstand a spirited display from the exiles who trailed by nine points at the break.
Playing into a strong breeze th Monaghan champions had to dig deep in the second half and held on despite scoring just once in the second half and being over run in midfield.
Jarlath Gilroy has seen Sunday’s opponents in action and admits to being impressed.
“They are a big, strong physical outfit and will take a bit of stopping but having said that we have a very decent panel of players and if we can play to our full potential we will be very close indeed.
Sunday’s game takes place in Pearse Park in Longford and has a 2 pm throw-in.
‘The House’ are expecting big support on the day with numerous buses heading to the midlands. There is even a rumour a few House ‘scouts’ may be making the trip on the Saturday just get ‘settled’ in before the big game.
Emyvale go into this one as slight favourites but it would be a foolish man (or woman) who would write off ‘The House’ even without the services of the influential Peter Kelly.