Minor Football Championship final preview
Erin’s Own, Cargin v St. Brigid’s (Dunsilly 1-00 Saturday)
Another busy weekend of fixtures in Antrim this weekend with the Minor, Intermediate, Senior, and Senior Reserve football championships down for decision and the action gets under way at Dunsilly on Saturday with the Minor Football final.
Last year’s winners, Erin’s Own Cargin and beaten finalists, St. Brigid’s meet again in a final that has much more at stake than another title for the Toome men. Last year Cargin went into the final as outsiders but confounded the punters by defeating the Musgrave Park side.
That win at Corrigan Park provided the opening paragraph to a remarkable double as the Cargin senior side went on to lift the Padraig McNamee Cup by defeating Lamh Dhearg after a replay.
The Toome club have the opportunity of repeating that remarkable feat this weekend with both Senior and Minor sides in their respective deciders and indeed a win for the seniors would see them collect their first ever three in a row.
Last year Cargin began the minor final as underdogs. This year they are likely to start as favourites but that is unlikely to bother Joe Brolly and his St. Brigid’s side.
Both sides are backboned with players going into their second final with Shea Laverty, Cahir Donnelly, Malachi Johnston, Sean Og O’Neill, Odhran Molloy, Benen Kelly and Paudie McLaughlin all starting last year’s final.
St. Brigid’s had Declan Heery, Ronan Boyle, Marcus Lynch, James Turkington and Reuben Carleton in the side that defeated All Saints in this year’s semi-final from the team who started last year’s final so Cargin look to have the edge in experience.
St. Brigid’s topped a group that included Sarsfield’s, St. Gall’s, Rossa, St.Enda’s winning four games from four starts to top the group and had four points to spare over All Saints Ballymena in the semi-final at Saturday’s venue.
Cargin were impressive as they finished top of Group 1 with wins over All Saints, St. James’ Aldergrove, Tir na nOg, Aghagallon and St. Ergnat’s and will go into Saturday’s final in a confident mood.
They were given a scare against Sarsfield’s in the semi-final however where they trailed by three points at half-time but came back strongly in the second half to win fairly convincingly. The survivors from 2019 winning side are joined by the impressive Conhuir Johnston who scored 1-7 in their semi-final win over Sarsfields and Tom Shivers who has been in excellent form this year.
Ronan Boyle and Marcus Lynch, two of the survivors from 2019 were their go to players against All Saints, both scoring important goals with Boyle starting at mid-field before moving to full-forward late in that game.
Joseph McCartney, at full-back, Reuden Carleton, Jack Logue, Fionntan McGarvey and James Turkington all played their part in that semi-final victory but St. Brigid’s may need to find something extra if they are to overturn last year’s final defeat.
Verdict: Cargin will start Saturday’s final as favourites but are likely to face a tough test from St. Brigid’s before edging home to set up the first part of what could be a double-double and potential treble.