The senior hurling and football finals in Mid Tipperary will be played together for the first time ever.
However, when you have a senior football final being played without Loughmore Castleiney involved - the first time since 1962 that this has happened - and when you have the two finals being played together for the first time, the occasion in Holycross on Sunday afternoon will indeed be unique and unprecedented.
The football final between Moyne Templetuohy and JK Brackens will draw considerable attention and will be the perfect curtain raiser to the biggest day in the divisions calendar. Both sides have had chequered seasons so far, but to capture the divisional title would be a big honour, especially for Moyne Templetuohy who have been out of the loop for many years.
This game will, more than likely, be an open match with plenty of chances falling to both teams and while JK Brackens will be the fancied side, they will face pretty stiff opposition from their neighbours. How Moyne Templetuohy handle Colin O’Riordan will have a big bearing on the destination of the silverware.
In the Centenary Agri Mid senior hurling final, Upperchurch Drombane and Drom-Inch will lock horns in an eagerly awaited contest which is a repeat of the final of a few years ago in the same venue - a day remembered for the torrential rain which sweptSt Michael’s GAA Grounds. Drom-Inch won out then and are fancied to do likewise this time round too. However, Upperchurch Drombane will see this as a real chance. They have played some great hurling this season so far and will not be lacking in self belief and confidence when they lock horns with their fancied opponents. The big question here will be how much The Church can snuff out Drom-Inch’s much heralded attack with Seamus Callanan, the Butlers, Johnny Ryan, David Collins and of course James Woodlock likely to be very prominent. Much will depend on James Barry, Jody Brennan, Colm Ryan and the Shortt brothers in their quest to lift the silverware and steal a march on their closest rivals.
A quick glance at the two teams would suggest that Drom-Inch are by far the better balanced side. They have a lot of experience too having had the pleasure of dining at the top table for a number of years. And, while they achieved the ultimate honour of bringing home the Dan Breen Cup on just one occasion during their period of dominance, they have, more or less, been the deserving kingpins of the Mid division for a number of years. In fact, while both Sarsfields and Loughmore Castleiney have gone on to claim the county honours in years when Drom-Inch won the mid titles -the three are regarded as being in the top five in the county - fate could have made campaigns a lot more successful for the defending champions. Woodlock and Callanan are both in flying form at the present time - two All Star candidates surely - and when you add in the sound defensive unit led by Micheal Butler and Eamon Buckley, they will be very hard to break down.
Upperchuurch Drombane will perhaps see the way to overcoming Drom-Inch as going the direct route to goal, and taking on the defence. With pacy attackers such as Colm Ryan, Pat and Owen Shortt, Padraig Greene and Jody Brennan, they will feel that they have the keys to unlock the rerarguard which has been percieved as lacking in footing, although this was hardly the case against a star studded Sarsfields in the semi-final.
Upperchurch Drombane have taken much confidence from their victory over county champions Loughmore Castleiney in the semi-final and they showed a lot of courage and belief as they took them on into extra time. They led from the front for most of the game and will need to do the same on Sunday if they are to emerge. Much pressure will be exerted on the likes of James Barry. Andy Kinnane, John Ryan, Padraig Stapleton, Matt Ryan and Sean Harty in the defence while captain LJ Ryan and Paul Shanahan will also need to be firing on all cylinders if success is to be their lot.
The senior football final will be refereed by Tom McGrath - the first Loughmore Castleiney man to officiate in the decider since Mid Board Secretary Sean Ryan back in 1950, while Martin Ryan of Moyne Templetuohy will be the man in the middle for the senior hurling final.
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