Senior Football Championship Draws have been made 26/01/15 : the chronicle.ie

Senior Football Championship Draws have been made 26/01/15

| January 26, 2015

The draws for the senior football championship were made at a county board meeting last Tuesday night with the twelve teams divided into two groups of six as usual. Group A have the following teams: St Fintans, Adamstown, Shelmaliers, St Annes, Fethard and Sarsfields. Group B is made up of St Martins, Starlights, St James, Gusserane, Horeswood and Castletown. They are two interesting groups with possibly Group A the strongest, at least on paper. Of course it contains county champions St Annes and they will be going all out to retain their title. It is my considered opinion that they were really caught on the hop in 2013 and should have three in a row at this stage. Shelmaliers will probably be their closest challengers in this group as there was very little to choose between them both in their group game and in the county semi-final last year

Fethard will also want to get back in the ball game after getting to the county final two years ago and will be dangerous opponents for anyone. Having recently been to a county final will be of great benefit to their younger players and now , being two years older and more mature, they could be ready to mount a major challenge again. I see where Kevin Rowe returned to action for Wexford in the O’Byrne Cup and this very talented player will be a major boost to his club this year; he was an incalculable loss to the Seasiders in their county final loss of two years ago.

St Fintans did very well last year and they will be hoping to push on again this time round. They have a very talented footballer in Jim Rossiter. They also have a real leader in Joey Wadding but they will miss their prolific score taker Donal Shanley who is studying in the United States at the moment. However, they have a terrific team spirit and will be a pushover for nobody. Adamstown will be happy to have preserved their senior status, giving their best display of the year when beating Kilanerin in the Relegation final. They will have a stronger panel this year and will be keen to make a bigger impression. Sarsfields started very well against Shelmaliers in the quarter final last year and were ahead by a few points early on but an Eoghan Nolan goal changed the complexion of the game and Shels more or less put the game to bed early in the second half. The Sars are a bit of an enigma as on their day they have the quality to challenge any team but they can have poor days too. If they can develop more consistency they could surprise a few teams.

In Group B the 2013 county champions St Martins have the quality to bounce back but I suppose it will all depend on how much they are prepared to put into football as they will be certainly targeting a big run in the senior hurling championship. With players like Ciaran Lyng, Daithi Waters and Paidi Kelly they certainly have the quality.

Gusserane will have been bitterly disappointed with their county final defeat and will be very keen to go one better this year. It will be 40 years since they last won the county senior title (1975) and they will be surely making a mighty effort and if they can tighten their defence they certainly have the forward talent to go the whole way.

St James may have been lucky to win the Intermediate final but they have been knocking on the senior door for a number of years now and having finally re-entered senior ranks will be very keen to make a big impression. They have top players in Matthew O’Hanlon, Kevin O’Grady and Graeme Molloy but every other player is going to have to take it to the next level to ensure sustained competitiveness.

Horeswood have had a glorious innings over the last ten years and simply cannot go on for ever but four championships in that space of time is a great return for a really talented bunch of players. They will miss P.J Banville but still have serious performers in David Larkin and Declan Murphy both of whom are getting deserved runs with Wexford at the moment. They are probably in the midst of a transitional period but you can never write them off.

Castletown have been one of the most consistent teams around ever since they won their last title in 2010 and had they taken some of their first half goal chances in the semi-final against Gusserane last year the game could well have ended differently. Conor Carty was having a great year and was a huge loss to them when he got injured. They were playing a lovely brand of football and could be serious contenders again this year.

Starlights showed when they beat St Martins last year that they were a match for any team but sadly they were very depleted for various reasons when they were well beaten by Gusserane but if they can get all their top players onto the field they would be quietly confident of taking on all-comers. They missed John Hudson last year and a fully fit John would still be a real test for any defence in my view.

The games throw in in April with St Fintans v St Annes, Fethard v Sarsfields and Shelmaliers v Adamstown in Group A while its St Martins v Gusserane, St James v Horeswood and Castletown v Starlights in GroupB, being the first series of games. It is intended to play three group games before the break this year.

by Jim McGovern

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