Roscrea set their sights on more Munster glory
GAA: AIB Munster Club Intermediate Hurling Championship Final Preview
By Shane Brophy
ROSCREA v MONALEEN
Pairc Ui Rinn, Cork
Sunday 4th December
Throw-in @ 1.00pm (E.T. & Pens)
Referee: Ciaran O’Regan (Cork)
Roscrea will be aiming to add to tally of Munster club titles when they take on Limerick’s Monaleen in the provincial club intermediate hurling final on Sunday.
While the club has won senior titles at senior level in 1969 and 1970, an intermediate success would be as cherished as the club aim to get back to the top-table in senior club hurling.
They have done almost everything right in their championship campaign so far, their only blip coming in the North final defeat to Portroe, and even that came after extra time.
Since then, they have found an extra gear, helped by a settled line-up, particularly since the return from injury of Alan Tynan towards the end of the group stage. While adding quality to the attack, they haven’t been too reliant on him as his presence has opened up the Roscrea attack from where the likes of Shane Fletcher, Evan Fitzpatrick, Luke Cashin, Jason Gilmartin, Conor Dooley, and the rejuvenated Sam Conlon have been contributing handsomely.
However, Roscrea’s attack, which has been so potent in the championship, has the potential to be even better if they can improve their shooting as their wides tally in games has been extremely high, so improving their decision-making in front of goal could go a long way to seeing off Monaleen.
The hard-working Dan Ryan and the experienced Jason Fitzpatrick have forged an effective midfield partnership in this campaign, while defensively, the experience of Keith McMahon and Darren O’Connor in the central positions cannot be understated, and around them they have the energy of Shane Davis, James Synnott, Michael Campion and Darragh Tynan. If they are breached, goalkeeper Daryl Ryan has been in superb form between the posts, but he will be hoping not to be too busy on Sunday.
While there was much made of the venue for the game in Cork city with just 41 kilometres separating both Roscrea and Monaleen clubs, the quality of the surface at Pairc Ui Rinn should certainly benefit both sides and something they deserve in a game as big as this.
Monaleen are a young side with an average age of just 23 with a number of starters who sat their leaving cert last summer. They don’t currently have a Limerick senior panellist but in Andrew La Touche Cosgrave, they have a former Limerick underage star, while Ronan Lyons and Donnacha O Dalaigh featured for the county’s under 21’s in the Munster Championship success earlier this year.
This Munster final is bonus territory for both sides, but with the All-Ireland Series opening up, there is a massive prize on offer. The winners progress to the All-Ireland semi-final before Christmas where the Leinster champions, either Trim of Meath or Bray Emmetts, await. With the Cork and Kilkenny champions, who have dominated this competition since its inception, now out of the way, the vision of a Croke Park final in the new year is tantalising for all the remaining teams.
Roscrea can take a giant step towards that on Sunday and after taking out the Cork champions Inniscarra in the last round, go into this Munster Final has favourites. However, it won’t be a burdensome tag as they have the experience and quality, both on and off the pitch, to be celebrating another Munster title come Sunday evening.