Shane Reynolds highlights four likely ‘face-offs’
that could influence the outcome….
Fergal O’Donnell v Mickey Moran
O’Donnell has proven to be a very astute manager since he took over the reigns two years ago. He has managed to successfully integrate a number of the victorious All-Ireland winning minor team of 2006 into the senior side, which now boasts a fantastic blend of experience and youth. Mickey Moran rang the changes for this year’s championship and put his faith in a number of new players who certainly did not let him down against Sligo. With a close encounter in prospect, decisions made on the sideline will surely prove crucial to the outcome of this game.
Michael Finneran v Daniel Lowe
The aerial midfield battle should be an intriguing one this weekend. Michael Finneran finally established himself as a commanding midfield presence during last year’s campaign, while St. Mary’s Daniel Lowe made an impressive debut the last time out against Sligo. Both teams will be hoping to get a good return out of their towering fielders on Sunday but one would imagine that due to his superior experience at this level, Finneran may just edge it in this department.
Kevin Higgins v Gary Reynolds
Although Higgins is regarded as a midfielder, he is currently plying his trade in the half-forward line, where his keen eye for a score saw him notch 2-16 in the league campaign. Centre-back Gary Reynolds was impressive in the last round against Sligo but will have to be on his toes to stick with the mobility of Higgins, who could pop up anywhere on the field. Generally Higgins is good for a couple of scores at the very least so if Reynolds keeps him at bay for the entire game, it’ll be a major plus for Leitrim.
Senan Kilbride v Ronan Gallagher
Another championship debutant the last time out, full-back Ronan Gallagher will certainly have his hands full when Roscommon’s latest talisman Senan Kilbride lines out at the edge of the square this weekend. Kilbride has been in scintillating form of late, with a host of superhuman displays for his club St. Brigid’s during their All-Ireland run enhancing his growing reputation as one of the most dynamic full-forwards in the entire country. If Kilbride shows his true form, Gallagher will be in all kinds of difficulties.