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Major games on the menu this weekend in Senior football championship

Rathnew and Bray Emmets has potential to be a cracker

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Who will lift the Miley Cup this year? The next chapter in the story will be written this weekend.

Who will lift the Miley Cup this year? The next chapter in the story will be written this weekend.

Who will lift the Miley Cup this year? The next chapter in the story will be written this weekend.

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This year’s Boom & Platform Hire Senior Football Championship proper gets underway on Saturday afternoon and there are four significant fixtures down for decision between the first whistle of Rathnew and Bray Emmets at 2.30pm and the final whistle of Kiltegan and Donard-The Glen on Sunday evening.

With the preliminary rounds now out of the way and Éire Óg Greystones consigned to the relegation battle already, all eight clubs out this weekend will be hoping of progression to the next stage which is the meeting with the four seeded teams who must feel like this championship has taken an eternity to come around.

Interestingly, before we knuckle down to look at this weekend’s games, the relegation battle will be on a round robin basis. Two teams are bidding farewell to the Senior ranks this year and five teams will be competing to try and avoid that and that has the potential to be a dog-eat-dog affair, make no mistake about it.

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That fact or that looming threat makes this weekend’s games all the more important for the eight clubs involved because nobody wants to slip up now and have a defeat on their books because momentum is going to have a huge bearing on this championship when it comes to winning and departing.

The old saying ‘keep the best for last’ is not relevant in the slightest this weekend because it’s simply the case that it’s the best first in the humble opinion of this writer as Rathnew prepare to face Bray Emmets who dispatched Éire Óg Greystones on Sunday evening.

That word momentum could well have something to say in this fixture with Rathnew carrying a defeat to AGB in the Dunne Cup final on their backs while Ger Brennan’s men have the uplifting victory in the County Grounds to fill their sails.

But a Rathnew team under pressure is a Rathnew team who can raise their game to levels nobody can predict, and you can expect a very different approach this weekend from the Villagers as they look to get past a very difficult opponent in the shape of Bray Emmets.

Bray have quality footballers all over the field. They have youth and experience in equal measure, and they have a history of getting the better of Rathnew teams when people least expect.

If Ross O’Brien is back that could be a major boost for the Village men, and they’ll need to start with Eoin Doyle in the full-forward line if they want to terrorise Paul O’Keeffe’s goal.

A fascinating game in prospect.

The second game on Saturday shouldn’t be that dramatic as Casey O’Brien’s Pat’s should have too much in the tank for Newtown if the form of recent years is anything to go by. Pat’s eased past Éire Óg probably not anywhere near as comfortably or effectively as the Dunbur Park men might have wanted but they should be able to cross this hurdle after a battle with the Magpies.

The first game in Aughrim on Sunday throws together two teams who will be very familiar with each other in the sense that they are geographically close, and Jonathan Daniels has managed Dunlavin and is now in charge of Blessington.

Blessington carry with them a poor defeat to Baltinglass in their league final while Dunlavin accounted for Éire Óg in theirs. The question is whether or not Blessington can reach that undeniable potential once and for all. If they do, they should have enough but if they don’t then no better team than Dunlavin to revel in their discomfort.

There’s a potential cracker in store in the last game of the four, this one in Baltinglass. New kids on the block Donard-The Glen will have left no stone unturned in preparing to face Kiltegan.

The sight of Conor Healy with his wrist in plaster at last week’s Junior ‘A’ hurling final is a big worry but if he’s available that would be a big plus for Mickey Daly’s men.

Surviving and setting up a strong base is key for Donard-the Glen in 2021. Kiltegan enjoyed a super adventure last year, but their issues haven’t gone away. The lift that their hurling team has given the club in recent weeks should work as a positive but sometimes that can disrupt a camp and it’s how they emerge from that that will be key to their chances.

On paper you would think that Kiltegan will have too much in terms of doggedness and power for this Donard-the Glen side, but, again, of the likes of Alan Daly can find his feet early on there’s no better side than Donard-The Glen to put you on the canvass and thoroughly enjoy doing it while they’re at it.

Saturday

At Aughrim: Rathnew V Bray Emmets Gaa Club, 2.30pm (Referee: Noel Kinsella)

At Aughrim: St Patrick’s Wicklow V Newtown, 5pm (Referee: Pat Dunne)

Sunday

At Aughrim: Dunlavin V Blessington, 1.30pm (Referee: Darragh Byrne)

At Baltinglass: Donard-The Glen V Kiltegan, 3pm (Referee: Stephen Fagan)


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