GAELIC FOOTBALL

Tipperary champions Mullinahone in David and Goliath clash with Kerry champions in Munster Final

Eamonn Wynne

Reporter:

Eamonn Wynne

Email:

ewynne@nationalist.ie

Alan Curran

Alan Curran's late goal in the semi-final against Croom earned Mullinahone a place in Sunday's AIB Munster Junior Football Final against Kerry champions Na Gaeil in Mallow

Mullinahone are preparing for their second-ever AIB Munster Club Football Final, where they will take on Na Gaeil of Kerry in Sunday’s Junior final in Mallow (3.45pm).

The Tipperary club reached the provincial Intermediate decider in 2011 when they were beaten by another Kerry team, Miltown/Castlemaine, also in Mallow. Another Kerry team, Ardfert, stopped them in their tracks in the 2006 Munster Intermediate semi-final.

“This is our third foray into Munster Club football and only Kerry teams have beaten us”, says coach/selector Sean O’Meara.

Mullinahone booked their place in Sunday’s final thanks to Alan Curran’s late goal in the semi-final against Limerick side Croom a fortnight ago.

“It was a fantastic finish to what was a pretty good game of football for the time of the year. The pitch in Bansha was in great nick”, says Sean O’Meara.

“We made life difficult for ourselves (they kicked 15 wides to Croom’s four) but we got there in the end”.

He said that their second half performances were considerably better than the first for the last three or four games. Those include the county final win against Portroe and two victories over Newcastle in the county and south semi-finals.

“But we’ll need to perform for the full hour against Na Gaeil”, says Sean.

The Kerry team are strong favourites and  gave Michael Cusacks from Clare “an awful trimming” in the semi-final (3-20 to 0-1) and beat Cork champions Kilshannig by 2-11 to 2-3 in the quarter-final. 

They have two of the current Kerry panel, Jack Barry and Diarmuid O’Connor, as well as some of the extended panel, and play in their county’s first division.

“We’re under no illusions”, says Sean O’Meara, who is joined in the Mullinahone backroom team by his brother Kevin, who is also a selector; and manager Ky Vaughan.

“We’ll give it a rattle and see how we go. It’s great to be there and we’ll give it our best shot, if it’s good enough it’s good enough.

“We won’t be trying to stop those lads from playing. We’ll play our own game and see where it takes us”.

Mullinahone have several survivors from the team that reached the Munster Intermediate Final eight years ago - Kevin Walzer, Paul Curran, Alan Curran, Alan Walsh, Sean Curran and current manager Ky Vaughan.

Seven of the team played U-21 hurling last week, and although they were beaten by Killenaule they came through the game uninjured. 

They are Martin Kehoe, Eanna Ryan, Enda Keane, Brendan Kearney, Mikey O’Shea, Colin Shelly and Daire O’Brien.

Mullinahone have produced several All-Ireland-winning hurlers but is also a club with a proud football tradition, and one that is delighted to have regained their Intermediate status for next year.

“Six of the team that played on Bloody Sunday in 1920 came from this area and when those commemorations take place next year we’ll be glad to be playing at a higher level again”, says Sean O’Meara.

For more Tipperary sport read Ahead of Sunday's annual convention South GAA Board secretary Eddie McCarthy says postponing games isn't an option