Belgooly and Valley Rovers will clash in the South East Junior A Hurling Final This Sunday
Writes JJ Hurley
Belgooly and Valley Rovers are set to meet in an eagerly awaited South East Junior A Hurling Final in Ballinspittle on Saturday, October 21st, at 4 pm.
While the defending champions are lining out in their third consecutive Carrigdhoun Junior A Hurling Final, their opponents are making their first appearance in the A-grade decider.
Despite the apparent lack of experience in Belgooly's ranks on the big occasion, it should be remembered that the three Dwyer brothers, Ruairi, Barry and Jamie, all possess an All-Ireland Club medal with Ballymartle in 2011.
Speaking after Saturday's semi final success, Valley's supremo, Damien O'Riordan, was quick to acknowledge his team would be taking nothing for granted, remarking, 'I don't know about us going in as favourites as Belgooly will be hungry too,'
However, he said the chance of winning silverware is always welcome, adding, 'We will see how it goes.'
Now in his second term with Belgooly, Seanie McGrath was also talking down any expected hype in the lead-up to Saturday's clash, remarking, 'Nerves can get a hold of you, and all we can do is prepare right and keep the lads focused and get them to put their best foot forward for Saturday. '
While expressing his admiration for Valley's achievement in overcoming Ballymartle in the semi-final, he also agreed that this game should be one for the neutral, with both sides playing very open and fast hurling.
Indeed, matchups here could prove vital, with Sean McEntee Valleys and Eoin O' Donovan Belgooly potential game-winners for either side.
Both sides also have their rocks in defence, with Rovers Charlie O'Sullivan set to have a considerable bearing on this game.
If Belgooly are to claim their first title in the Junior A grade, Gearoid O'Riordan and Sean Kiely will need to dominate centre field, a role they can do.
Belgooly will also need a big performance from Kevin Fitzgerald on Saturday, and the Innishannon outfit will be looking to Mark O'Leary to lead their line at the Courcey's headquarters on match day.
With little expected to separate the sides, frees could prove crucial, and either side have suitable sharpshooters to punish the opposition.
Choose a winner, Valley's, on paper, should have enough, but Belgooly are capable of writing a new chapter in their history on Saturday, as they did fifty years ago in winning their first South East title in the junior B grade.
For the record, their meeting in the league had Belgooly as clear winners by 4-27 to 4-15, but Saturday will be a far closer affair.