Monday 14 October 2019

Gusserane going is as underdogs versus Rhode

Dean Goodison

As the quantity of games at the weekends drops, it might give more G.A.A. followers in the county a chance to get out and enjoy a game with a local side in action, without the tension and stress of supporting your own club.

One such chance arises when Offaly winners Rhode make the journey to the county on Sunday to face Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football champions Gusserane in O'Kennedy Park, New Ross (2 p.m.).

On what is otherwise a quiet day locally, the meeting of two clubs from unfashionable Leinster football counties should prove to be an intriguing and tight first round affair.

Wexford sides have struggled to make an impression in provincial competition in recent years, with St. James' the latest to try their luck when soundly beaten by Killoe of Longford last season.

However, there have been some good showings in there too, with Castletown pushing Skryne all the way in 2010 and Horeswood giving St. Brigid's of Dublin a real scare a year later, while St. Anne's stayed within a goal of Killoe in 2012. But moral victories are all Wexford boast of late.

Rhode are the opponents this time around, having won their 27th Offaly Senior title (tying Tullamore in the process), just last Sunday week when they defeated Ferbane by 1-14 to 0-9 in their county final.

Compared to the eight games played in the Wexford club championship, just five are required on the way to the Offaly title. Rhode won all their three group games, scoring 0-20, 2-18 and 6-16 in the process.

Their closest game proved to be a 1-11 to 1-7 semi-final win over Gracefield before Ferbane were dispatched by eight points in the decider. It was the Offaly club's eighth title in 13 seasons, and in the same time Wexford has seen eight different champions.

Gusserane are the latest with their spirited fightback against Glynn-Barntown fresh in the minds. Preparation for this tie probably hasn't been as focused as they might have liked with their Junior hurling final and replay against Shelmaliers a distraction.

It is a tough ask to expect Gusserane to win this fixture, given Wexford clubs' recent history and their tough few weeks, however, if they do pull off the surprise of the round they will host the winners of the Meath final, Donaghmore-Ashbourne or Simonstown, on November 13.

Elsewhere, it's quiet, given the sheer volume of massive matches in recent weeks. The Junior 'B' football final is the last remaining adult grade in the county, pitting Fethard against Monageer-Boolavogue in the decider (Saturday, Bellefield, 4.15 p.m.).

The New Ross District champions dominated two ties against Crossabeg-Ballymurn before advancing to the decider. The Enniscorthy champs would have been delighted to get their semi-final into the legs after two months without a game. There should be little to choose between the sides but Fethard can just shade it.

The Greenstar Under-21 football championship continues too, with the Premier competition hitting the quarter-final stage. Crossabeg-Ballymurn will expect to get the better of Dunbrody Gaels at home, while St. Martin's should win their derby at Glynn-Barntown and Shelmaliers can edge past Naomh Eanna in Hollymount (all 3.45 p.m. Saturday).

Wexford People