Kellaghan doesn't need to develop power of bilocation

Frank Roche

PASCHAL KELLAGHAN was breathing a sigh of relief today after learning he can play an active role in pursuing Leinster club football glory on the double over the next fortnight.

The former Offaly star forward was facing an unenviable headache after his native Rhode and the Meath junior club he now manages, Ballinabrackey, qualified for provincial finals that were both fixed for the same day - Sunday week, December 5.

However, following a request from Ballinabrackey, their Leinster JFC decider against St Andrew's of Carlow has been brought forward a week to this Sunday. The final was orginally pencilled in for Dr Cullen Park but will now take place at Portlaoise instead, as the Leinster SHC showdown between O'Loughlin Gaels and Oulart-The Ballagh is going ahead at the Carlow venue on the same afternoon.

St Andrew's were agreeable to the switch, and this has cleared the way for Kellaghan to patrol the sideline at O'Moore Park this Sunday - and then to tog out for Rhode at the same venue a week later when the Offaly champions tackle Kilmacud Crokes in the senior decider.

A clash of dates would have forced the veteran Rhode forward to miss out on the junior final. A similar semi-final clash occured last Sunday but, with both games taking place in Navan, Kellaghan was at least able to watch the first half of the junior clash against Milltownpass before hooking up for Rhode's pre-match warm-up.

"It was one of the hardest things I ever did, leaving them (Ballinabrackey) at half-time," he explained after Rhode's victory over Skryne.

"In fairness to Ballinabrackey, they were very understanding. They went and kicked on and won by three or four points when I wasn't there, so I must be doing everything right!"

Leinster Council chairman Sheamus Howlin expressed delight that the two junior finalists had come to an amicable arrangement.

"I'm glad the two clubs have come to this agreement. We were happy enough to facilitate negotiations between the clubs, because it was a special request and it's nice to see them coming to this solution," Howlin said.

WICKLOW chairman Andy O'Brien has defended his county's disciplinary record after another major fracas in the Garden County, reportedly involving up to 20 players between Tinahely and Avoca in last weekend's Division Four South-East League junior football final. "Whenever anything happens in Wicklow it is highlighted and covered out of all proportion," claimed O'Brien, who promised that the local CCC will deal with the issue in the "strictest possible way."