Tuesday 26 March 2019

Form-book points to Beaufort win

Munster Club JFC Final: Beaufort v Dromtariffe, Sunday December 2, Mallow GAA Complex, 3.30pm

Mark O’Connor wins possession for Dromtariffe in the Munster JAFC semi-final. Photo by John Tarrant
Mark O’Connor wins possession for Dromtariffe in the Munster JAFC semi-final. Photo by John Tarrant

John Tarrant

From a potential tasty affair, Dromtariffe are tasked with an assignment of halting a total domination of Munster inter-county and club championship titles in favour of Kingdom teams that have grabbed six of the seven titles on offer in impressive fashion.

Dromtariffe can take plenty of encouragement from the voyage of Duhallow neighbours Knocknagree last season, both lost Duhallow divisional finals, only to recover to earn county accolades and in Knocknagree's case, their winning vein of form continued to claim Munster and All Ireland titles.

Long before a ball was kicked in the 2018 Duhallow JAFC, a strong perception emanated that Beaufort were near unbeatable in Munster.

That theory was based after the Kerry Division 1 League side came through a testing campaign to land the Kerry JAFC title last May.

Plenty of hot league action over the summer retained Beaufort's sharpness ahead of the Munster campaign and massive scorelines en route brushed aside Tipperary and Clare opponents.

Indeed, their performances to date confirm Beaufort are justifiably favourites to regain a title for a Kerry club, their rating enhanced after Kerry League Division 2 ranked Kilcummin landed the Munster IFC title last weekend.

From the Kerry JAFC race, much tighter affairs for Beaufort, coming through the group stages unscathed, a powerful attacking display formed a single point win over Churchill in the semi-final.

And from a fiercely contested decider, Beaufort edged a high scoring epic with Na Gaeil thanks to another victory by the minimum of margins.

This is a well constructed Beaufort unit with Ger Harnett and Jonathan Kissane bringing stability to defence, Nathan Breen and double All Ireland Minor winner Mike Breen will be keen to cancel Dromtariffe 's taking a possible grip at midfield while upfront 2014 All Ireland MFC winner Liam Carey, Fergal Hallissey, Ciaran Kennedy and Ronan Ferris can attack with devastating consequences.

Dromtariffe enter this final in the ideal position, carrying a large underdog tag again, but no strangers to that status all season. After running Boherbue so close only to be defeated by a single point in a replay, those performances energised Dromtariffe, their resilience and spirit surfaced to dispose of highly rated Iveleary and Kilmacabea to land a Cork title.

And in the Munster campaign, Dromtariffe went about their business, weathering storms provided by Kildimo-Pallaskenry (Limerick) and Mount Sion (Waterford) to register workmanlike wins.

When required all season, Dromtariffe have battened down the hatches in defence with young players such as Seán Howard, Jack Murphy and Conor O'Callaghan showing leadership qualities beyond their tender years.

At their best, midfielders Seamus O'Sullivan and Adam Buckley can be assertive, while Evan Murphy and Daniel O'Keeffe prospered in attack in the semi-final.

The surprise package came through the Cork campaign in flying fashion and they will need to put down an early marker here.

Faithful Dromtariffe fans vouch its all of 125 years since a team from the club were crowned Munster champions and they'll never have a better chance to buck that trend than next Sunday given their long tradition over the years.

Not short of confidence, Dromtariffe will battle to the finishing line but require an exceptional performance to add a famous title to their collection.

Indeed Beaufort are labelled warm favourites to succeed, despite waiting close on six months between the end of the Kerry championship and start of the Munster campaign, they have impressed and appear to possess the quality to complete a grand slam of provincial titles for the Kingdom.  

That said, this contest will be a lot closer than the bookmakers envisage but at the end of the day, the form book points to a Beaufort win.

Verdict: Beaufort