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St Michael’s and Pat’s hoping to clinch title

THE curtain-raiser to this Sunday’s Senior Final in Markievicz Park sees St Patrick’s battle with St Michael’s to see who will be victorious in the Connacht Gold Junior A Championship decider.

oth camps gave their views to the local press on Friday evening as they are looking forward to what should be an intense battle between the sides who are very familiar with one another over the years.

St Patrick’s Adrian Kearins, Mícheál Clarke and David Giblin said they are expecting a big test.

“Every team wants to go out to progress when you want to play and we just would be hoping to take the leap forward.

“St Michael’s will offer a good test surely, we’ve met already 3 times this year.”

In the semi-final with St Mary’s the west Sligo men had a very close battle and were victorious by two points.

“If we scored half of what we missed it would have got us over the line. To be fair to Mary’s for their second team, they are a very good team, they have a lot of very good players out there and a lot of young players. They were very athletic and gave us a great game.

“I thought our team in the last quarter showed a lot of character and it was 2-5 to 2-5 going into that, so it was in the balance.

“Padraic (Clarke) is back now and he makes a difference, he is a great clubman for us and has been over the years.

“It’s great to get him back and we’re delighted to have him back, he’s a good scoring forward.”

“We have younger players there coming through too, but I think there is a lot of players togging out and it’s great to see overall all the teams having a lot of players back playing football through the divisions so it’s great to see for football overall and hopefully the final will be a good game and a good spectacle for Sligo football.”

With St Farnan’s also in the Intermediate final, they said it could potentially be a good weekend for the West.

“With the help of God they will do well and the more we bring back to the West the better!

“We have a lot of very good players that are there and great interest in football so we will try and progress and keep going and keep the standards going.

“Our support has really grown too and we’re looking forward to Sunday.”

Also very much looking ahead to the final are St Michael’s.

Manager Declan Feeney said the lads have really bought into the new management structure and the belief is there they can get into Intermediate. “The lads have the belief that they are capable of getting out of Junior and I think it’s a case they are hungry for it and I suppose the past year with covid and that, it gave them something to focus their minds on and the belief they are capable of getting out of Junior.

“St Patrick’s are obviously in a county final so they will have a lot to offer, we played them 3 times already this year all the matches have been very tight, there’s not been a whole pile in it, we fortunately came out on 2, they beat us in the first round of the championship, so I don’t think either will be surprised what we are going to be up against on Sunday.

“They are a strong, physical team they have a good manager, a good set up and some decent footballers, it’s a challenge we are going to have to overcome if we are going to win out the Junior championship and we are pretty confident that we are going to do that.”

Jack Haran said in their commanding performance over rivals Owenmore Gaels in the semi-final, where they won by 11 points, gives them a good boost ahead of Sunday’s encounter.

“We played Owenmore Gaels I don’t know how many times over the years and we beat them the last 2 times but we came out the wrong side a couple of times too, you know what you’re getting against them but the scoreline probably was a bit more in favour of us than we probably expected but you have to beat these teams as well.

“It definitely gives us a boost, I’d say at the start of the year Owenmore Gaels were probably a lot of people’s favourites, they’re playing in division 2 football, ourselves and Pat’s are in division 3 so I don’t know if anyone really thought before the championship that we really would be beating the likes of them by ten or 11 points, but we always knew we were capable and we are confident.”

He said it is very important for the club to get up to Intermediate. “It would be massive for us, we have so many good young players coming through, you’ve the two McKeons on the underage panels, Kyle Davey who is the minor goalie, we need to keep pushing it on for the likes of them and to give them something to work towards and even the older fellas as well.

“The likes of myself still, you want to play as high a level you can because if you want to progress, you have to be playing the better teams all the time and the more exposure we get to them if we win the better it will be for us as a team and for the lads coming through as well.

“That’s why I think it’s so important. Nearly everyone on the team has played Intermediate but the likes of Kyle it will give him something to work towards, he knows he has high level opponents to play against next year so it’s definitely worth for the likes of him and the younger players coming through,” he added.

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