The Clare Intermediate Football Championship begins this Saturday – Eoin Brennan previews the first round action
Round 1 Group 1
Kildysart v Coolmeen at Lissycasey, Saturday 3pm
A rare civil war between these underage amalgamation partners but while both will fancy their chances of emerging from the group, it’s Kildysart that possess the genuine title ambitions and should have too much firepower for their neighbours.
Naomh Eoin v Kilrush Shamrocks at Shanahan McNamara Park Doonbeg, Saturday 6pm
A rare coastal derby at intermediate level at least as it’s only three years since Kilrush edged out the first Naomh Eoin/O’Curry’s adult partnership at senior championship level.
The Shams also have nine points to spare the previous season over Naomh Eoin on their way to the intermediate crown so while the margin should be tighter, the same result is anticipated.
Verdict: Kilrush Shamrocks
Banner v Cooraclare at Lissycasey, Saturday 4.45pm
Only five years ago three championship tiers separated then senior quarter-finalists Cooraclare and Junior B side Banner but on Saturday, they meet for the first time in what arguably could be the clash of the opening round if both play up to form.
Cooraclare are looking to bounce straight back up to senior level at the first attempt whereas the Banner are eager to maintain their meteoric rise as they chase down a third promotion since 2017.
Kilfenora v Ennistymon at Páirc Finne Corofin, Sunday 5pm
A worthy North Clare derby if it was their first teams but being Ennistymon’s second string, Kilfenora, who contested last year’s intermediate semi-finals, will be expected to negotiate their way past their neighbours’ impressive strength-in-depth.
It’s a no-win tie for Kilfenora but one which they need to put to bed early in order to stop the eager Magpies from blossoming.
O’Curry’s v Michael Cusack’s at Páirc Naomh Mhuire Quilty, Saturday 6pm
O’Curry’s may be threadbare in numbers but do possess plenty of bite and winning know-how to trouble any teaming this championship.
Cusack’s on the other hand are bolstered by the aid of their Tubber contingent but while they have finally established themselves back at intermediate, they will find it difficult to overcome such an experienced battle-hardened outfit.
Verdict: O’Curry’sLocal derbies aplenty as intermediate championship kicks off
Wolfe Tones v Shannon Gaels at Gurteen, Sunday 1pm
Whether last year’s brush with relegation from intermediate was a sufficient scare to reinvigorate Wolfe Tones’ footballing wing will only be realised on Sunday as aside from some excellent young talent, they will require experienced leaders to get them over the line.
Shannon Gaels meanwhile have proven themselves to be more settled and with the return of talisman Darragh Bohannon following a six month lay-off, it could be the key ingredient to get them over the line.
Verdict: Shannon Gaels