Saturday 30th September 2023
Championship reports - Peter McGrath Jr - Photo Louis Mc Nally
The action in the Morgan Fuels senior championship gets underway on Friday night with the meeting of Glenn and Burren. Glenn’s quarter final win over Mayobridge is the biggest “giant-killing” of the championship to date as the side relegated to Division Three for next year dispensed with the Sky Blues with seven points to spare. For them to climb another rung of the ladder will require an even bigger upset however as they are now paired with a Burren side long since viewed as the main challengers to Kilcoo’s dominance and the only side other than the Magpies to win a senior title since Kilcoo began this period of greatness in 2009. One thing in Glenn’s favour is that they have been scoring consistently - the 1-11 notched against Saval in the opening round remains the lowest of the tallies they’ve posted and, while they managed just 1-12 against Mayobridge they could easily have had another few goals in that game. Things look less favourable for the underdogs when we look at the head to head with Burren victorious on all of the five most recent occasions the sides have clashed in all competitions.
The St Mary’s side will be keen for a return to the decider for the first time since 2021 having faltered at the quarter final stage last year. Mayobridge’s defeat will have acted as a timely warning that Glenn cannot be taken for granted and, as a side littered with county players from back to front, the Burren men will be keen to assert superiority early in this tie. Glenn must ensure they don’t allow early goals to go in as Loughinisland did when Burren met them in round two. Burren’s other matches have been won by four points (vs Warrenpoint) and six points (vs Ballyholland). If Glenn can keep this one tight heading into the final stretch then they will be able to sow seeds of doubt in Burren minds and that could open a route to victory for them - especially as Burren haven’t yet had to come from behind in this year’s championship.
Sunday’s second semi final sees the renewal of the fierce local rivalry between Kilcoo and Clonduff. Both camps will be quietly confident they have the arsenal required to emerge triumphant but it’s Kilcoo who have proven it more in recent times. Though Clonduff have tended to edge it in league meetings, when it comes to the championship Kilcoo are a different animal entirely and always find a way to get past the Yella’s. Last year they met twice in the championship. In round one Kilcoo recorded a facile victory over a passive and laboured Clonduff but in the quarter final the tables turned and the Magpies had to pull the game out of the fire before scraping through a dramatic penalty shootout - alas though, they found a way as they always seem to do in championship football.
Their wins in this year’s championship have been built on a super-solid defensive platform established by Karl Lacey that has seen them concede just 0-20 over their three games and, even in the last round, when Carryduff seemed to have them pinned to a wall, they had still conceded a measly four points by the time Cian Clinton was dismissed near the end of the first half.
The experience the Magpies have built up in recent times, not least annexing an All-Ireland club title gives them an advantage for sure but Clonduff will feel their day against their neighbours is coming and, if they can get their forwardline firing on all
cylinders, a decent return from their middle sector as regards ball winning and keep it tight at the back to prevent goal chances, their belief that Sunday could be their day may not be as fanciful as some believe.