Saturday 24 August 2019

Erin Rovers keen to end Faithful famine

Bracknagh were defeated junior finalists last year while now Erin Rovers, on the back of home wins against Longford’s Sean Connollys, Kildare’s Ballymore-Eustace and Meath Hill, head for Mullingar today hoping to break that long provincial deadlock against Westmeath junior champions Multyfarnham. (Stock photo)
Bracknagh were defeated junior finalists last year while now Erin Rovers, on the back of home wins against Longford’s Sean Connollys, Kildare’s Ballymore-Eustace and Meath Hill, head for Mullingar today hoping to break that long provincial deadlock against Westmeath junior champions Multyfarnham. (Stock photo)
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Offaly club and county football teams have had to endure slim pickings at provincial level in the 2000s with just a Leinster junior title in 2001 to show over the last 17 seasons.

Rhode have been most unfortunate to bear the brunt of Dublin club dominance with four of their five senior club final losses over the last 10 years coming against the capital's best.

At junior club level, there have been signs of increased competitiveness, especially since the structures were redrawn in the county with eight-team competitions.

Bracknagh were defeated junior finalists last year while now Erin Rovers, on the back of home wins against Longford's Sean Connollys, Kildare's Ballymore-Eustace and Meath Hill, head for Mullingar today hoping to break that long provincial deadlock against Westmeath junior champions Multyfarnham.

One of three teams that serve the parish of Lemanaghan in the heart of the county - Doon and Ballycumber also draw from this area - the Pullough-based club, pitched between Ferbane and Clara, have built steady momentum.

They looked to be drifting in recent years after dropping from senior but the return of key players from overseas and the development of a couple of promising minors who were involved in Gallen Community School's All-Ireland 'B' success last year has reaped dividends.

"We wouldn't have had much representation over the years on Offaly teams but this year Conor Lynam and Nathan Poland were with the Offaly minors and they've had a huge impact, while Tom Spain's return from the US has made a difference to a small club like ours," said manager Ger Lynam, himself a member of two of the club's four previous intermediate successes, in 1995 and 2003.

"There would only be about 600 in our catchment area but the buzz has been great and that's the beauty of these provincial competitions.

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"You can dare to dream. We've had support from all the neighbouring clubs, said Lynam.

"But away from home now for the first time, we're under no illusions," he conceded.

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