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Éire Óg’s Ronan Lanigan shields the ball from Brendan Rouine of Ennistymon. Photography by Eugene McCafferty Éire Óg 1-06 Ennistymon 0-05

Tight encounter likely in first Clare SFC semi-final

Eoin Brennan looks ahead to St Breckan’s semi-final clash with Éire Óg
Senior Football Championship Semi-Finals
St Breckan’s v Éire Óg
at Cusack Park Ennis,
Saturday 4.30pm

WHICHEVER way the pendulum swings, a major breakthrough will be accomplished by Saturday evening for two sides looking to turn undoubted potential into Jack Daly success.

While they have been in the list of genuine contenders for several seasons mainly due to four Under 21A triumphs in six seasons (2013, ’14, ’15, ’18), Éire Óg have invariably underwhelmed and have never built upon their county final appearance of 2014.

However, along with St Breckan’s, they do have the most exciting collective attacking unit in the county, with Gavin Cooney, Mark McInerney, David Reidy, Philip Talty, Ikem Ugwueru, Eimhin Courtney and even the option of Darren O’Neill at the edge of the square.

Add in the county senior experience of Aaron Fitzgerald, Ciaran Russell and Conall Ó hAiniféin at the back and on their day, they are clearly a match for anyone in the county.

The thing is that supporters have still only really witnessed the Townies catch fire once so far and that in the opening round against Lissycasey, with missed opportunities against Clondegad leading to more dogged guarded performances against Doonbeg and Ennistymon.

In an ideal world, Saturday’s tie would be a rip-roaring shootout for supremacy but perhaps that is wishful thinking as there is as much to lose as gain for both sides.

After all, while St Breckan’s rode the crest of a wave last season in making the seamless transition from intermediate to senior on their way to the semi-finals, there is considerably more expectation to go one significant step further this time around.

What was missing from last year’s remarkable run to the last four was the boost of a major scalp, something which they rectified this time around after taking down the 2018 and ’19 champions St Joseph’s Miltown only a fortnight ago.

That should provide the final piece in the jigsaw of bolstering their assurance and self-belief that they have everything in their locker to finally garner a first ever senior title in what would be the perfect crowning moment in the club’s 50th anniversary.

Their attacking talent is unquestioned as the x-factor of Joe McGann is complemented by Aiden Davidson, Jamie Stack, Dale Masterson and Padraig Kelly while Liam Tierney, Alan Sweeney and Jack Sheedy provide the steel and guile at the other end.

In a highly-anticipated showdown that could realistically go either way, Éire Óg have the greater senior experience and are backed by sheer momentum of both their flagship hurlers and footballers contesting semi-finals.

However, they will be extremely wary of a St Breckan’s side that won’t be short on motivation after building up a keen rivalry with the Townies at underage level along with a 27 point pummelling received from the Ennis side when the teams last clashed at senior championship level in 2018.

St Breckan’s are a completely different prospect now and 36 years after their last county final appearance, they’ll never get a better chance to add a new chapter to their club history book that is due out this winter.

Verdict: St Breckan’s

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