Glavey’s wary of underdogs’ bite!
If championship previews were written on the basis of the formbook then there would be only one choice as winner of the Jimmy Murray Cup on Sunday – and that would be Michael Glavey’s. Despite a blip against Oran (when they were already through to the semi-finals) they have played some excellent football this year, not least a stunning display against the same Oran in the semi-finals.
However, there is far more to championship football finals at club level than a look at the formbook. Fuerty have been at or close to the top table over the past three or four years and they will relish the fact that they will go into Sunday’s encounter as underdogs. They came within a kick of the ball against Glavey’s in the final two years ago and on their day they have the beating of anyone in this championship, including Glavey’s.
When Darren O’Malley coolly stroked over the ’45 in injury-time in 2015 to give Michael Glavey’s a dramatic one-point win in Strokestown, it was a tough one for Fuerty to take. Glavey’s went on to sample senior football while to their credit, Fuerty never flinched and despite losing by a point in the semi-final in 2016 to Kilmore, they are back in search of the Holy Grail once again this year.
Fuerty’s campaign has seen them play some very solid rather than spectacular football. Despite a 3-15 to 0-12 loss to Glavey’s, they came through their group easily and qualified for the semi-final. The did stutter in the final ten minutes against St. Dominic’s and were glad to hear the final whistle that day.
Fuerty have an excellent team full of top class performers and are managed by former St. Croan’s man Eamon Towey. Their key man is county star Niall Kilroy who oozes class at this level and is the heart and soul of this team. Indeed, it was only after he got a late black card in the semi-final that Fuerty were under pressure.
With the experienced Joe Fallon in goal, Tom Bannon, John Brennan and Adam Whyte are the likely full-back line who will be given the task of keeping Andrew Glennon and Co. quiet. Peter Kellehan, team captain Philip Neilan and Darragh Heavey will be the likely half-back combination and all three have plenty of experience.
Eoin Whyte and Eamon Bannon will probably be in the Fuerty engine room and, as always, this will be a crucial sector. Up front, Niall Kilroy will lead from centre half-foward. Robbie Fallon was also in top class form in the semi-final and others like Gearoid Ennis and Peter Leahy will have to chip in with scores if Fuerty are to have a chance of winning.
Glavey’s have been gunning for this title since earlier in the year and they have played some marvellous football en route. In 2015 they were largely dependent on the prolific Andrew Glennon for the bulk of their scores but Michael Glavey’s the 2017 version are a more balanced team with the danger coming from a number of sources.
Former Glavey’s and Roscommon player Iain Daly now manages the team. This year the likes of Cathal Heneghan, Dylan Ruane, Stephen Comer and Tiernan Murphy are featuring on the scoreboard with Caoileann Fitzmaurice weighing in with some crucial scores this year too. The Roscommon player has been performing well at midfield and his role is crucial.
Then when you add in the experience of Conor Hussey, Shane O’Malley and James Brennan in defence, added to the class of Roscommon player Gary Patterson and Roscommon goalkeeper Darren O’Malley, it is a Michael Glavey’s team that is definitely getting stronger. The junior title they won in 2014 was followed by the intermediate in 2015 and they are determined that they can win that IFC title again this year.
Fuerty have made some serious progression too. Their junior title success in 2013 was followed by an All-Ireland final appearance in 2014 and they have lost by a point in each of the last two years (final in 2015 and semi-final in 2016). They have an excellent team and will feel that their day must come soon.
But Glavey’s are a coming team. They were unlucky to lose their senior status in 2016 and now with a stronger team they are ready to take the step up once more and are determined to stay up this time around.
I am expecting a great game of football. In fact, the IFC deciders in the past number of years have thrown up far more drama than the senior equivalent. Not one neutral would deny Fuerty their day in the sun – and it would be great to see them up into the senior ranks – but this looks a strong, well-balanced Glavey’s outfit and they look a better bet to bring the Jimmy Murray Cup back to Ballinlough for the second time in three years.
Prediction: Michael Glavey’s