Ballinameen and Strokestown will be attempting to reach Connacht club finals at junior and intermediate level when they take the field to play Leitrim opposition in the AIB semi finals, which will be played in Ballinamore on Sunday next.
Ballinameen will be first into action at 12.45 pm when they play the Leitrim junior champions Eslin. With a very good win against Sligo champions St Patrick’s under their belts, Ballinameen will be hopeful that they can advance to the final.
The return from injury of Dessie Carlos will be a huge boost to their chances of victory. John McDermott, Paul Kelly and captain Padraig McDermott will be expected to lead the defensive line, while Eoghan Keaveney and Aidan Cunningham will be hoping to gain the edge at midfield. Up front Peter Keane has been the star turn for Ballinameen this year and he will need help this weekend from Dessie Carlos, Ciaran Harrington, Alan Beirne and the rest of the Ballinameen attack.
Eslin beat Leitrim Gaels in the county Leitrim junior final by two points in a match that was exciting and close all the way through and Eslin have some excellent experienced players to call on. If Ballinameen can get enough ball into Peter Keane and Dessie Carlos then they should be good enough to get through.
Strokestown will be into the fray against Aughawillan at 2.30 pm. This promises to be a tough hard encounter and it will bring back memories of the clash between the two teams in 1992 at senior level, which Aughawillan won on that occasion.
Strokestown scored an excellent win against Easkey in the last round and they played much better in that game than they did in the county final. Ronan Owens, Daniel Rogers, and Rory Molloy will lead the Strokestown defence on Sunday, while John Hagen and Matty Colum will be the likely midfield partnership. Strokestown look strong up front with John Rogers, Colin Compton, Paddy Brogan and Conor Silke all playing well.
Aughawillan are back in the senior ranks after a period at intermediate level and this club, who were once the kingpins of Leitrim senior club football, are on their way back under the guidance of former all star and local hero Mickey Quinn.
They beat Drumkeeran in the Leitrim county final by a point and they are looking forward to the game on Sunday which will be played only a couple of miles from their home base.
Strokestown’s form has been erratic with a mediocre display in the county intermediate final followed by a very impressive display against Easkey in the first round.
There should be a big crowd in Ballinamore for this attractive double bill and it would be another big boost for Roscommon football were both teams to get through to Connacht final. It would also give St Brigid’s a big lift as they prepare to face Glencar/Manorhamilton in the senior semi final on Sunday week.