Glynn-Barntown by three reckons Dodd
The Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football final has thrown up a pairing that few neutrals would have forecast at the start of the season.
Gusserane had failed to qualify for the quarter-finals last year and were not expected to set the world alight this season. Glynn-Barntown lost their first two games as reigning Intermediate champions, so there were no indications of what would follow.
Such are the tight margins in the Wexford Senior football championship that Glynn-Barntown would not have qualified for the quarter-finals had Starlights scored one more point in their group game against them, and in fact would have been in a relegation battle instead.
Gusserane have not won since 1975 while Glynn-Barntown won their solitary title in 1996, so we are faced with a game between two teams with an unbelievable hunger to take the title.
Glynn will surely enter this game as favourites after a convincing win over odds-on St. Martin's in the semi-final. The manner of the victory was really impressive as they took on their opponents in every sector and had the belief in their own ability to outplay their rivals.
It can be argued that they scored two fortuitous goals at vital stages of the game, but they fully deserved their victory on the day. They play an attractive brand of football, moving the ball quickly out of defence and then playing early ball to the forwards, having the trust in them to win their own ball against their direct marker.
John Lacey will be a massive loss for the final if he cannot start, but he had to retire at half-time in the semi-final and the positional changes compensated for his loss.
The team is led by a number of experienced players like Rob Tierney, Michael and Brendan Doyle, Alan Cowman, Michael O'Regan and Mark Fanning, but the younger players perform with a freshness and enthusiasm that allows them to play with confidence and no fear. Their performances over the latter part of the season have shown us that they would make worthy champions.
Gusserane have quietly and efficiently reached the final with impressive wins in their last two games. They beat St. Anne's and Castletown with controlled performances in testing conditions on both occasions.
What impresses me is their defensive organisation, which has stifled their opponents and frustrated them into shooting from impossible positions under pressurised tackling.
They quickly turn defence into attack and are back to playing with confidence like they did in 2014 when they also reached the final.
Adrian Flynn is probably playing the best club football of his career, while the Cullen brothers have shown their versatility and skill by starring in a number of positions throughout the season. I do believe that they are in their best positions now, but depending on conditions and tactics they have the ability to play anywhere.
Cathal Somers is one of the most consistent defenders in the county and has been an outstanding performer for years. Seán Ryan and Jamie Cooney are constant scoring threats and the experienced Cillian Kehoe and Phillip Wallace offer different options whether they start or are introduced to the game.
As I stated earlier, Glynn will be everyone's favourites, but I find it really difficult to call the result of this one.
The experience of Kevin Kehoe, Mick Caulfield and Maurice Browne against Pat Barden, Paddy Kehoe and Mick Walsh will also have an important bearing on the outcome.
The real factors that have helped me make my prediction are the three phone calls, two e-mails and one begging letter from Gusserane supporters who have asked me not to tip them.
Any time I have tipped them to win before they have lost, so using this scientific method to reach my conclusion, it's Glynn-Barntown by three points.
Any supporters who go to those lengths surely deserve co-operation!