COUNTY final day. The highlight of the local club football championship is upon us once again and while the championship this year has gone smoothly, despite playing the final some 21 weeks after the opening round, nevertheless it will all come to the boil on Sunday when last year’s beaten finalists Carbury take on Sarsfields, who are attempting to win back the famous Dermot Bourke Cup for the first time since 2005.
Stephen Darby leads his Carbury boys back to where they left empty handed this time last year going under to a very talented Athy side. However, this time around they turned the tables and booked their place in Sunday’s final with a few points to spare, surviving a late Athy rally.
Sarsfields, under the management of John Crofton have had a remarkable season, winning the Aldridge Cup, the Leinster Leader Cup and now bidding for the Dermot Bourke Cup.
The Newbridge boys are the warm favourites at 4/7 which is definitely a little ‘tight’. Carbury on the other hand (7/4) have a lot going for them. Despite making the final for the second year in a row they seem to be coming into this game somewhat under the radar. The fact that they did not play in St. Conleth’s until the semi probably accounts for that.
It is a game that is extremely difficult to call with some excellent players on both sides. The boys from the west of the county have in Eoghan O’Flaherty a player of skill and talent who has been playing out of his proverbial skin of late, and for the second time in this competition hit ten points in the semi final. Brother, Morgan is also in top form while the new kid on the block, Brian, is showing he was not behind the door when the football skills were being handed out in the O’Flaherty household.
But there is more to Carbury than just the O’Flaherty boys. Their two corner forwards, Kenny McNamara and Andy Dermody will test any defence while the experience Terry Rossiter is working as hard as ever from the no. 11 spot.
Team captain, David Cash is having a fine season while Willie Groome is playing particularly well this term. Their defence is solid, hard working and they get lets of bodies behind the ball, break with lightening speed using accurate foot passing to unlock defences.
Sarsfields, as we have said already are enjoying a tremendous season with a mixture of experience and youthful exuberance.
Team captain, Pádraig Brennan an experienced campaigner who has been knocking around the senior squad for sixteen years and his undoubted talent needs little highlighting.
Relatively new, Ray Cahill is enjoying a great season; if given room he will hit the target as he has shown throughout this campaign.
Alan Smith is linking up well with his half back line particularly Conor Tiernan who uses his speed to great effect. Gary White, man of the match in the semi final, is showing the form we all know he is capable of while new man in midfield, Matty Byrne, is knitting in very well indeed.
At the back, keeper Paddy O’Sullivan has already stopped three penalties; full back Sean Campbell has the capacity to wear the white while Conor Duffy is an experienced defender at this stage.
Extremely difficult to call and it is a game that could go either way but I have called Sarsfields from a long way back, and for what it’s worth will stick with them.
The ‘proposed’ fixtures for the 2013 NFL were announced last week with Kildare being handed four home games against champions Donegal, along with Dublin, Kerry and Tyrone.
But will they all be held in Newbridge?
In fact I’d suggest no chance.
The Dublin game will be moved to Croke Park with the rest (hopefully) staying in St. Conleth’s Park. It’s annoying and very unfair to Kildare supporters but that old adage comes into play here, “he who pays the piper calls the tune.”
And with Kildare still in ‘bail-out’ mode they are, unfortunately, in no position to argue!