SUNDAY is the day that the footballers of Glen and the hurlers of Dunloy have been dreaming about since they first pulled on their boots at the start of last year.
Granted, it has been a long slog for both teams but it’s one that both teams would gladly endure in order to reach the promised land come full time on Sunday.
Both teams will probably head into the finals as underdogs at the weekend but I’m sure both will be up for the battle.
The Glen and Kilmacud game is probably a little closer in terms of favourites heading into the decider. When calling it I will have to stick with my original opinion and that opinion hinges on one man, which I will get to later.
We have all known that this Glen team would eventually arrive on the senior stage given the unprecedented success at underage level. The question was always out there how good would they be at senior level.
Last year was massive for the development of this particular squad of players, because to take that step and to win the Derry senior championship was a massive confidence booster.
After sampling the Ulster Club, I’m sure it only whet the appetite to really get stuck into that competition. They have since achieved the big one in Ulster but they now find themselves with a real opportunity of becoming Kings of Ireland.
In order to do that, they will have to beat a very well-drilled and hugely talented Kilmacud team, a team that is still hurting from last year’s defeat. I’m sure Robbie Brennan is licking his lips at the opportunity of facing another Ulster team.
The one big difference for me that sets Kilmacud apart from a lot of other Dublin teams that have come through is that they are in no way soft. They are an extremely physical team and if you want to go toe to toe with them they will gladly oblige.
They are extremely well set up and they have some unbelievable individual talent, but there are areas where I feel that I can be got at. I have watched a lot of Dublin club football over the last number of years and I have lost count of the amount of times where Kilmacud have seriously struggled on their own kick-outs. That is one area that I would put serious pressure on.
I also believe that Glen have the inside forwards that will get serious joy on Sunday if enough direct and fast ball is sent in before the Kilmacud defence get the opportunity to filter back.
Glen will also have their own worries on Sunday and the obvious big one is who will tag Shane Walsh and whether or not it’s even possible to keep him quiet in the wide open spaces of Croke Park.
The other dangerous thing about this Kilmacud team is that they really do get scores from every corner of the pitch. The corner backs are as comfortable taking scores as the inside forwards, so it’s important that everybody stays switched on and never lose a runner.
My heart says Glen as I would absolutely love to see them win, but unfortunately the biggest obstacle they may face this weekend is Paul Mannion. No one outside of the Kilmacud camp really knows what kind of shape Paul is in or whether he can contribute or not, but I have gone on the record months ago stating that if he is back playing alongside Shane Walsh then Kilmacud will be extremely difficult to stop.
For me, a lot hinges on whether Paul is able to play or not. I think we are in for possibly one of the best club finals in a long time and it’s one that I’m extremely excited about.
For now all, I’d like to do is to wish Glen and Dunloy all the very best and let’s hope they can bring back the silverware. Ádh Mór.