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Arravale Rovers bid to dash Eire Og Annacarty hopes of divisional double

Arravale Rovers and Eire Og Annacarty Donohill meet in the final of the Rea Clarke Hennessy West Senior Football Championship on Saturday Dundrum at 6pm. There will be extra-time in the event of a draw.

Arravale Rovers and Eire Og Annacarty Donohill meet in the final of the Rea Clarke Hennessy West Senior Football Championship on Saturday Dundrum at 6pm. There will be extra-time in the event of a draw.

Eire Og are bidding for only their second title and hope to make it a senior hurling and football double. Arravale are looking for title number twelve.

The sides previously met in 2011 and 2012 - Rovers winning in ‘11 and Eire Og claiming revenge a year later for their first divisional crown. If Eire Og win they will join Cashel King Cormacs (1990) and Galtee Rovers (2003) in becoming only the third team in the West division to win both the Senior Hurling and Senior Football titles in the one year.

Both sides go into the final unbeaten and regardless of the result have already qualified for the quarter finals of the County Senior Football Championship. Both sides had narrow victories in their semi-finals, Arravale Rovers overcoming Aherlow Gaels by the minimum, while Eire Og beat 2014 West champions Galtee Rovers by just two points.

Eire Og have hit the ground running in 2015 and have lost just one game between hurling and football, an opening round defeat to Killenaule in the Senior Hurling. They are unbeaten since that defeat and got revenge for last year’s group defeat by Killenaule when the sides met at the start of May. They drew with this year’s south finalists Kilsheelan/Kilcash and racked up a big score against North combination side Thomas McDonaghs. Like Arravale Rovers it was their first time topping their group after three attempts.

Arravale Rovers will look to the Leahy brothers of Donagh and Shane on Saturday. Shane came on as a sub in their semi-final win and tightened up the defence. Donagh has been operating at full forward and his goal in the semi-final proved vital.

Their ability to win ball and their overall team play, leadership and an unwillingness to back down makes them key to any Arravale Rovers success. John Hayes has firmly established himself as full back on the Arravale Rovers team over the last few years and is flanked on either side by Pearse Richardson and Paddy Dalton.

Darren Lowry has steadily returned from injury missing the start of the championship and will again be one of their go to players and is versatile in the positions he can play in. His brother Bryan has been in fine form this year and given the right supply of ball in the full forward line he can certainly do damage. Niall Donovan and Brian Jones will more than likely form the Arravale midfield. Niall has cemented his place over these last two seasons while Brian Jones’s form has been very good recently. Ger Mulhair brings his county experience to the team and as well as a physical presence he can also score.

Arravale Rovers will also look to the likes of younger players Tommy Lowry, Cian Ryan and Ciaran Lowry. Timmy Dalton is returning from injury and will certainly be a boost to have come in from the line if needed.

Eire Og too have plenty of very good players they will look to. The Fox brothers of Brian and Kevin bring their county experience to the team. Brian has showed his versatility with the Tipperary senior footballers but will likely line up at centre back. His brother Kevin started the semi-final win over Aherlow Gaels at full forward and will certainly pose a threat from there.

Diarmuid Ryan is another to watch in the half back line and his pace going forward will certainly pose problems. Eoin Kennedy and Tom Fox started in the midfield berth the last day out and if they bring their form from the hurling championship they will be a hard engine room to stop. The O’Brien brothers will be also be looked to for their leadership. Damien will certainly take watching in the forwards and he contributed two points in their semi-final win. Eire Og agreed to play the semi-final without Conor O’Brien so his presence in the team will certainly add to their potential for the final. Darragh Mooney hit four points in their semi-final win and he too will take watching in the Eire Og full forward line.

Eire Og will also be able to look to players like Dinny Crosse, Richard O’Doherty, Philip McGrath and Ronan O’Brien but to name a few.

From recent meetings there should be very little between these two evenly matched sides. Eire Og will certainly look at their chance for this bunch of players to make further history and win a west senior double while at the same time realise that maybe they haven’t fully achieved in football with just one title from six attempts. The same can be said of Arravale Rovers and their current crop of players and a third West title in five seasons would go down as progression for this team. By 7.30pm on Saturday we should know.

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