Senior spots sought
Intermediate final double bill Saturday
Published 15/10/2016 | 00:00
The fight to return to the top table of football and hurling in the county should come to an end this weekend with the finals in The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship and the Ashdown Park/Amber Springs Hotels Intermediate football championship down for decision.
Both games take place on Saturday in Innovate Wexford Park, with the hurling clash between Adamstown and Oylegate-Glenbrien throwing-in first at 2 p.m. The winners of this tie will travel to Meath to face their Senior winners in the Leinster Intermediate championship on November 5.
Oylegate-Glenbrien seem to have found the right blend both on and off the pitch. With M.J. Reck pulling the strings from the line and Gerry McQuaid having the side in tip-top shape, they will go into the decider as favourites.
Their ability to spread the scores around could prove vital. Eight men were on the scoresheet in their impressive semi-final victory over neighbours Crossabeg-Ballymurn. The Enniscorthy District side are averaging a fraction under 20 scores per game in their last six outings, all wins, and that firepower is superior to anyone else at this level.
Adamstown, on the other hand, have not yet managed to end a game with 20 or more scores. They have also struggled to find the net, getting just five majors in seven games. The hunch is that they also had the slightly easier route to the final, beating Monageer-Boolavogue and Craanford.
But that means nothing on the day. Adamstown are a resilient side and have recent experience of Senior hurling. But Oylegate-Glenbrien possess more game changers, they are fit and prepared for their return to the Senior ranks, and they can win by a goal or so.
The football pairings were only set this past weekend. Bannow-Ballymitty had two tough games against Ballyhogue but, to their credit, they got over the finish line, when in previous seasons they may have fallen short.
Undoubtedly Kieran Butler has been a huge addition to the Grantstown side. Most clubs don't get the opportunity to add an inter-county level player in the prime of his career but they have made the most of it.
Ferns St. Aidan's had a good crack at Taghmon-Camross, getting in front early and hanging around for the entire game. However, in the end that little extra football work during the season told and the New Ross District side were able to advance.
Taghmon-Camross have had an incredible ability of playing to their opponents' level. For instance, they have now beaten St. Joseph's, Ballyhogue and Ferns by a point, and Clongeen by two, at one stage or another through the season.
This has all the hallmarks of another tight game, and it would be no surprise at all if it ended in a draw. Yet, with the experience of Ben Brosnan and Butler, Bannow-Ballymitty are given the nod to just pull through. The victors will face the Wicklow Intermediate champions, Arklow Geraldines Ballymoney, in the Garden county just seven days after this final.
Fethard and St. James' is a novel meeting of two up-and-coming hurling sides in the Top Oil Intermediate 'A' championship. Both have been concentrating on the small ball for a while now having exited the football championship at the quarter-final stages, so they both should be well prepared.
If St. James' were able to come out of their replay against Duffry Rovers without significant injuries they will be slight favourites going into the match. With last year's disappointment still burning deep in the back of their minds, they can make amends and win a close clash. The winners will travel to either Meath or Wicklow on November 5 for a Leinster Junior quarter-final.
Gusserane can keep riding the wave of positive emotions by getting the better of Shelmaliers in the Junior hurling championship final on Sunday. They have been building with each performance with the small ball and are no strangers to Innovate Wexford Park (1.30 p.m.).
In the Junior 'A' hurling championship final there will be very little between Monageer-Boolavogue and Cloughbawn. Given that the latter finished strongly against an impressive Glynn-Barntown side to take their place in the decider, they are given the tentative nod in this one too.