Football title race now wide open as James' march on

Billy Dodd

Published 22/09/2015 | 00:00

My attempt at predicting the outcome of last weekend's games wasn't totally disastrous; four correct out of six games is not a bad return, as any proper gambler would tell you.

The biggest upset of the weekend was the defeat of reigning champions St. Anne's by St. James'. Too many injuries proved to be a major handicap for St. Anne's as they failed to dominate teams like they normally do.

That should not take away from the achievement of the Ramsgrange men who have not been beaten in their last three games. The sound of the Jimmies winning matches is in the air again as they march on in the football and hurling championships for the second year in a row.

St. Martin's were back to their imperious best and totally outplayed Adamstown in an extremely impressive performance. Yet again they look like the team to beat as coach David Murphy has them primed to regain the title they won two years ago. No doubt they will face a more difficult test in the semi-final but they continue to play like potential champions.

Fethard and Castletown was the closest game of the quarter -finals and the result could have gone either way. Fethard will rue some missed chances in the first-half but Castletown again showed great character to win.

The real difference between the teams was Colm Morris who must be one of the most consistent performers in club football over the last number of years. He was excellent throughout, is a real leader on the field and an example to any young player.

The last match between Shelmaliers and Starlights was a tale of two halves. A mainly dull first-half that ended 9-4 to the Shels was transformed into a high-scoring and entertaining second-half. There were many outstanding footballers on the field but Liam Ryan was pure class and showed what a fine young athlete he is.

Shelmaliers have a talented young team and have quietly worked their way to yet another semi-final.

They look to be the team best equipped to challenge St. Martin's for the title and have every chance of adding to last year's hurling victory.

Kilanerin's win against Taghmon keeps them on track as they aim to regain Senior status after just one year of relegation, while Bunclody's extra-time victory over St. Mary's was a great comeback after being eight points down with ten minutes to go.

With the semi-finalists now decided, Glynn will be looked on as favourites with Kilanerin a close second, but both Bannow and Bunclody are also capable of winning.

The showcase game of the year in Croke Park was ruined by the conditions as torrential rain put an end to any hopes of a feast of football. The conditions in Dublin were even worse than portrayed on television as players struggled to catch, hold or kick the ball.

The scene was set for a marvellous occasion with a great atmosphere in the ground and the areas surrounding Croke Park. The noise levels during the pre-match parade exceeded anything I had witnessed in years as the fans paid tribute to their heroes about to go in to battle.

Despite the weather Dublin showed they were the better footballers and deservedly held on to beat Kerry in the final for the second time in four years.

Kerry couldn't get the ball in to their lethal forward line, who were so well marked by the Dublin defence.

The only negative part of the game which has received widespread coverage is the time it takes Cluxton to get into position to take a free in the forward line.

He doesn't even jog up and on Sunday Dublin used it as a way of slowing down the Kerry momentum.

I have the perfect solution: they can use the motorised stretcher for carrying off injured players and it would have him there and back in seconds. Taxi for Cluxton!

Wexford People

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