Wednesday 21 February 2018

St John's and St Farnan's eyeing Intermediate title

This Sunday sees the much-anticipated Kennedys Intermediate final between St John's and St Farnan's in Markievicz Park.

The encounter will get underway at 2pm and both sides are eyeing the prize of senior championship football next year.

It's a clash both teams are very much looking forward to, after displaying a good run in their respective championship outings.

St Farnan's are full of youth and exuberance, while St John's have experience in abundance, with the likes of Charlie Harrison and Alan Keane proving to be a thorn in defence's sides.

The Carraroe based club overcame Shamrock Gaels in a strong performance in their semi-final, while it was Geevagh that St Farnan's defeated in their respective semi-final to book their place in the coveted final.

Both are looking forward to what should be a decent game.

St Farnan's captain, Matthew Lang, said at the start of the year not many people gave the west Sligo side much of a chance but they have since proven otherwise.

"At the start of the year numbers and stuff, lads were away working and that, but thankfully things have progressed smoothly and we got numbers back and we are injury free so it's nice to be here now.

"Everyone wants to be in a county final," he said.

At the start of the year there were rumours that St Farnan's might not be able to field a team but he said that was because there were a lot of lads away in college and working,

"There were lads away for the summer and that but thankfully the lads put the shoulder to the wheel and we took it game by game and we've ended up here," he added.

Matthew added: "We're happy with that so one more game to go now hopefully."

St Farnan's had a tough group with their neighbours Easkey and Geevagh. "It was a tough group but you just take it sort of. Easkey was a tough game and thankfully we got over it. We just got the results and things were working well for us.

"In football you take it game by game, you don't look too far ahead," the captain said.

"2007 you thought these days would come round quick but it's ten years now, thankfully there's a few still there." He said St John's are a good team and they won't take them for granted. "It's no surprise St John's is there on merit. They've quality all over the field too. It's all on the day, it's 50/50. We'll have a crack and see how it goes," Matthew added.

Another man eagerly awaiting the final is Niall Walsh, captain of St John's. He said that Senior football is where the club wants to be at. "There is good excitement ahead of Sunday, getting back up to Senior football is what we want. It's been a tough two years since we came down in 2015, we went up in 2000 so we were 15 years in Senior so we are hoping to get back up," he said. In terms of their championship campaign, Niall said they had a tough run. "There is no easy run at Intermediate, the teams are all good. We had a tough semi-final with Shamrock Gael and luckily we've a final to look forward to. There are decent teams in Intermediate and many deserve to be in Senior."

Niall said he doesn't think St John's are favourites going into this final with the level of quality from St Farnan's this year.

"St Farnan's deserve a lot of media attention because they are a really good outfit. They beat Geevagh too, who are a really good team and it's going to be one hell of a game." Niall praised his teammates such as Charlie Harrison, David Rooney, Shane Stenson and James Murphy for bringing experience, while the addition of Alan Keane is also working well. "Alan Keane and Ian Rossiter are real professional lads and Alan is professional not only on the field but in the dressing room too." He said having Dara McGarty as manager along with the likes of Fergal Kelly and Michael McNamara is a great boost too. "It's been a good year and Senior is where we want to be," Niall added.

Sligo Champion

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