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06 Oct 2022

Junior Preview: Westerns facing toughest battle to date against in form Wolfe Tones

Durnin is supreme as Westerns pip Mitchel's to JFC quarter-final spot

Anthony Durnin, player manager of the Westerns, faces his toughest assignment to date as they do battle with the Wolfe Tones. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)

DKIT Sport Junior Football Championship 

Wolfe Tones vs Westerns                                                                                                                                                  Friday 16th Sept                                                                                                                                                          Pairc Dreadnots                                                                                                                                                        Throw in 7:30PM

In reality this should be the simplest of the four ties to call. An in-form Wolfe Tones getting the best draw in the hat, in theory at least, when they take on the men from Reaghstown.

The Drogheda side has had a great year, picking up 11 wins as they narrowly missed out on the Division 3B crown to Stabannon Parnells earlier this Summer.

Meanwhile the Westerns had a campaign to forget, albeit in a Division above the Tones, 3A. They failed to pick up a single point from their 12 outings and were beaten by large margins on many occasions.

To the credit, Anthony Durnin’s side did produce when it mattered most, in their championship opener against Annaghminnon Rovers.

They managed to keep Rovers to just two points in the first half, while Matthew Kane and John Murray were the heroes having bagged a goal apiece.

Durnin, who pulled double duty by lining out as well as giving instructions, controlled things nicely and played with his heart on his two sleeves at times as they fought bravely to record a 2-7 to 0-8 victory.

It was their first championship win since 2020, when talisman Tommy Durnin left the club; a huge achievement given they failed to even field a team for a championship clash as recently as last year.

They were of course outgunned by a strong Lann Leire outfit in round two, but to their credit they did keep them to just three points in the second half. But this is another big challenge.

Wolfe Tones would have fancied their chances of progressing the minute they saw their group draw, having avoided pretty much all the Junior grade’s top sides. Cuchulainn and St Nicholas were both quarter finalists last season, but were below par in 2022, unlike Martin Rice and Jay Finnegan’s troops.

Things didn’t go exactly to plan in their opener, a Drogheda Derby with St Nicholas in which they easily could have lost.

Tones shooting looked to have cost them when Paudi Downey fired the Nicks into the lead midway through the second half, but on this occasion they were saved by their bench.

Eoghan Brennan, Trevor Walsh and Jordan Duffy grabbing the big scores when they mattered in the final quarter.

After this scare, they got their act together with two big wins. Chris Cudden and Rory Taafe were the main protagonists as they accounted for Naomh Malachi by 14 points.

Against the Gaels Jordan Duffy and Garrett Cooney impressed as they ran riot, keeping the Dundalk men scoreless in the first half and finishing the contest with a final tally of 5-11.

With so many attacking threats at their disposal and having found form at the right time, this should be an easy assignment for the men from Drogheda.

Yet no matter what happens, the Westerns are here on merit and will hope to build on their group victory next year, regardless of tonight's result.

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