THREE in a row is an incredibly hard task for one team to achieve.
But if any team can do it, one would certainly think that Mattock Rangers are the team capable of doing so.
You have to go back a long way to find a team that did three in a row. The last time a team achieved the feat of three-on-the-trot was Cooley Kickhams back in 1978, which shows just how difficult the task is.
It’s for this reason that I am going with my gut instinct in claiming that St Patrick’s will once again reach the promised land this year and by the end of the summer, Colin Goss will be lifting Joe Ward proudly over his head.
Despite serious injuries to both Karl White and Sean Connor, the Pat’s have plenty in reserve and in their first 15, they have the pedigree needed to go all the way. Last year, the likes of Paddy Keenan, Dessie and Ray Finnegan were exhausted after Louth’s campaign in the Leinster Championship. Louth’s exit this year could the gain of the Lordship club as a rejuvenated Keenan, alongside Goss in midfield will certainly give plenty of teams cause for concern.
Alternatively, with Karl White and Connor missing, Keenan may actually move further afield due to the superb form of Eoin O’Connor in the middle of the park.
However, if the Pat’s top their group with Cooley Kickhams and Naomh Malachi, then a potential semi-final clash awaits with Mattock Rangers, who are still sweating on the fitness of Mark Brennan. The Collon forward was instrumental in Mattock’s back-to-back winning title season last year and with some of their play going through Brennan, his fitness will be key to Mattock’s campaign this year.
If the duo meet in the semi-finals like they have for the previous two years, then I think the Pat’s will finally get the better of them and meet the Newtown Blues in the final.
The Blues have the talent and drive to reach the final and as a good league campaign in 2010 showed, they certainly have the hunger for silverware. A disappointing semi-final appearance against Cooley last year should spur them in and take them to the final.
If anything, it is Cooley who could suffer this year as if they finish second in the group, then a potential quarter-final with the Dreadnots could be their reward and thus their downfall as a hungry, high on confidence Dreadnots could extend Cooley’s wait for Joe to 22 years.
Hopefully, the Championship will provide the excitement that the county needs after a much disappointing term from our county squad.
Pat’s for Joe is what I am going with, a prediction which I am sure will come in for much criticism. I hope that at the end of the campaign, many will turn around to me and say ‘I was wrong’, but if I am right, then I’m sure I’ll be the first person to remind you of it. Enjoy the Championship! Also, thanks to Quay Sports for their Championship odds.
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