Ennistymon’s Junior A manager Brendan Rouine believes this weekend’s county final against Ballyvaughan will see the form book go out the window.
Despite his side showing admirable grit in beating Kilmurry/Ibrickane after extra time in the last four, the Ennistymon manager insists previous games are irrelevant when the ball is thrown in on Saturday.
“That game (semi final) is behind us. It’s going to be a good contest against Ballyvaughan and we are looking forward to it. They are experienced and strong throughout the field so we are under no illusions of the challenge we face. Every game takes on a life of its own. Ballyvaughan will present us with a difficult challenge. This team is helping us to develop players but we still want to put our best foot forward.”
Ennistymon’s defence has impressed throughout the Championship as they only conceded an average of just over four points per game in the group stages. In the semi finals they only shipped 12 points after 80 minutes of football.
Rouine believes his defence will face their most difficult task next when they come up against an Ennistymon side that have fired in 16 goals in their four Championship games to date. Pat Costello’s outfit struck for five goals in their semi final win against Clooney/Quin.
“Stats are stats. They can be deceiving but we are happy with how our defence has looked so far. They have scored 16 goals in four games so we will be tested at the back. We treat every game on its own merit so it doesn’t matter what has happened before.”
He believes that Ballyvaughan will provide a stern test for his side with Pat Costello’s outfit keen to atone for defeat in the 2020 Junior A final on a day when they struggled to get going against Banner.
“They have players who have gone deep in this competition before. They’ve been knocking about a while. At the same time we have great faith in our lads. We have some lads who have played senior in the past and they’ve helped the younger lads make the step up so hopefully they can help us again.”
“They have quality throughout their team. We have to focus on our own game and get ourselves in order first. We have to do the right thing as often as possible and we need to limit our mistakes. We are at the end of October so the game is changing and we may need to be prepared for bad weather. They are a fine side who will want to do the same thing we are.”
Ennistymon have enjoyed great success at underage level in recent years, notably winning the Minor A title in 2019 while reaching the final of the same competition the two years previous to that. Rouine believes his side have a nice mix of youth and experience heading in to this county final.
“We have a nice mix of youth and experience. The guys coming through have worked very hard and we are happy with how they are progressing. Lads who have played a bit of senior over the years are with us too so it’s good for the young lads to be mixing with them.”
Rouine admits a victory for Ennistymon would show the progress being made by the club with a win against Ballyvaughan ensuring they are represented at the senior and intermediate grade next year.
“It would be a great honour for our club to be playing senior and intermediate. It’s not the be all and end all. If we can play to our potential then we will be happy with that. We want to play to our strengths and see where it brings us. I’d be delighted if it brought us a junior title and a step up to intermediate.”
by Ivan Smyth