Sunday 23 July 2017

Sheedy aiming to secure Newbridge bragging rights

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

THE Newbridge clubs have carved up the Kildare Senior Football Championship between them for the last decade.

You have to go back to 2004 for the last time neither Moorefield nor Sarsfields were in the county final and only back to '07 for the last final meeting between the sides.

Although Moorefield are four-two ahead in titles since 2000, it's been a tit-for-tat relationship for the last few years, with the achievements of one half of the town spurring the other into immediate, remedial action.

It would take a brave man to predict the outcome of tomorrow's latest final showdown between the pair.

Sarsfields reached a Leinster club final in 2006, only to be edged out by Kilmacud Crokes.

The following year, Moorefield went one better, beating Rhode in the provincial decider and in doing so, became only the second Kildare club to gain Leinster honours.

Sarsfields got some of their own back in 2008 when they shocked their hotly-fancied neighbours in the semi-final and, in the process, preserved their record as the only Kildare club to win three in a row.

"Anyone who knows anything about football is aware of the rivalry in Newbridge," said Moorefield manager and former Dublin stalwart Jack Sheedy. "It's a huge part of it."

Moorefield reached last year's final, but were humbled when losing by 10 points to St Laurence's. Sheedy was recruited from Offaly club Edenderry, whom he had guided to Division 1, to nurse Moorefield back to health.

On the other side of town, Sarsfields decided to go back to the drawing board and appointed from within: Sean O'Sullivan had guided the club to their last championship in 2005 and he was persuaded to return.

Both managers have suffered setbacks this year.

Sarsfields' totemic figure Dermot Earley went under the knife for a long-standing knee injury on the Friday before the semi-final win over the reigning champions.

Sheedy suffered a shock defeat at the hands of St Kevin's in his opening championship fixture, but Moorefield recovered to make the knockout stages.

However, they must plan without captain Ross Glavin (knee) and there is a major doubt over Daryl Flynn, who is still struggling with a neck injury picked up in Kildare's All-Ireland defeat by Down.

Reminder

"We were very poor against St Kevin's, but it was a reminder that nothing is easy," said Sheedy, who was part of the Dublin management team that won the All-Ireland junior title in 2008.

"We won the three games after that and beat Allenwood in the quarter-final and Athy in the semi. I've been pleasantly surprised at the level of club football in Kildare. It's certainly comparable with Dublin."

Moorefield won this year's league, beating St Laurence's in the final, while Sarsfields took care of the same opposition in the last four of the championship to set up the final the neutrals wanted to see.

With the influential Earley absent, Sarsfields received a boost this week when former Kildare midfielder Alan Barry won his appeal against a straight red card which he picked up in the semi-final, and he's now free to line out.

Sarsfields enter the fray unbeaten, Moorefield are the bookies' favourites. It's anyone's call.

Irish Independent

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