Saturday 20 January 2018

Loman's boss runs rule over Dubs pair

Gaelic Games Liam Kelly

BALLYMUN Kickhams and St Vincent's will contest tonight's Dublin SFC final replay at Parnell Park under the careful scrutiny of Leinster championship opponents St Loman's.

The Westmeath champions are due to face the winners of the replay next Sunday at Mullingar and Loman's manager Declan Rowley will be at Parnell Park tonight with members of his management team.

Rowley watched the drawn game and the extra-time between last year's All-Ireland runners-up Ballymun and their north Dublin rivals St Vincent's with keen interest last Sunday. The former Longford joint manager and ex-Leitrim boss was impressed by the qualities shown by both sides and admits he couldn't forecast a winner of the replay.

"It was an intriguing sort of a match in that you didn't know who to watch. For a long time Ballymun looked in control, but Vincent's came back and they looked to have got control in extra- time. Then it looked as if Ballymun had it won, until Vincent's got the equaliser.

"From our point of view, it's very difficult to start planning for next Sunday. Whoever wins, they won't be planning for us until they get over this replay.

"For either of them, it's going to be difficult, but they've very strong squads, so they'll deal with it," said Rowley.

The St Loman's manager doesn't expect the eventual Dubs champions to go to Mullingar leg-weary, even though Sunday will be their fourth fixture in less than two weeks.

Injuries may be an issue, but Rowley said: "Looking at the situation at the end of extra-time there were lads cramping and that, but they will recover after a couple of days, no more than after Wednesday night, a couple of days will get them recovered.

"Those lads are well used to training hard three or four times a week.

"It's just about getting them mentally right and the team that wins the Dublin championship will feel that they can have a real crack at Leinster and they'll get themselves ready for us in a very short time – unfortunately!"

St Loman's enjoyed the celebrations after winning their first Westmeath title in 50 years, but were back in tune to defeat Carlow's Old Leighlin in their opening Leinster championship fixture.

"We were lucky that we got a home game in the first round in the Leinster club and it helped that we were playing in familiar surroundings and had a few weeks to recover.

"It was a real battle against Old Leighlin, because they had won three of the last four Carlow championships.

"As a result, they were experienced and physically strong and our team were young and light and inexperienced, but they got over that and now they're looking at the Dublin champions.

"Whoever they will be, a Dublin team coming to Mullingar is a big show for the town and lads will want to be at their best, so that's going to motivate us.

"We know it will be very difficult for us and we know that the physicality of the Dublin champions will be much stronger than what we'll be able to put out there, but we're enthusiastic and we'll go at it and see where it brings us," said Rowley.

His initial assessment of Ballymun and the Vins?

"Ballymun have a real determination in their play. They operate with a high intensity, work really hard and there's nobody special in the team. Everybody works very hard.

"On the Vincent's side, they kicked some brilliant scores last Sunday.

"At times they looked as if they were going out of the game, but they kept themselves in it.

"It's very difficult to know who will get through, but no matter which of them wins, it is going to be a formidable task for us," he said.

Irish Independent

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