By Kevin Regan
This Sunday is a massive day at Netwatch Cullen Park.
Not only is it Senior Hurling Final day, but the the Intermediate Football Final showpiece also takes centre stage with St Andrews taking on Naomh Eoin.
All the talk heading in to this game is about St Andrews and the improvements they have made over the past 8 months or so.
They are playing a really attractive brand of Football and have very quick forwards who wouldn’t look out of place on many of the top senior clubs in the county.
Naomh Eoin have gone about their business very quietly and have been waiting in the long grass over the last couple of weeks and will hoping that they can set fire to the Town side come Sunday.
They are a big strong physical outfit, similar enough to Kilbride and have players of real quality in Philip Smithers, John Michael Nolan and Donal Smithers.
The thing about Naomh Eoin is that no matter how strong or weak they are, or what the code is, they are always very difficult to beat in finals.
You will have to be at your very best to take them and they will drag you into a battle.
The big question asked of St Andrews is will they deliver on county final day when it matters the most.
They answered a lot of questions in that semi final win over Kilbride, racking up 3-10 in the process, and many felt that they did that without playing to their full potential which is a scary thought in itself.
In terms of quality you would have to say that Naomh Eoin’s clash with Clonmore was very poor, but crucially they got the job done and in fairness they haven’t played anywhere near their to full potential to date either.
If you were to ask me if Naomh Eoin have better defenders than Kilbride I would say yes.
But can they put the shackles on Darren Crooks, Jamie Clarke, Andrew Beaton and company?
That could well be the the decisive factor in this tie.
At the other end I would feel that Barry Lambe needs to come into the St Andrews defence as I believe there is a weakness in one particular area and if Lambe comes in from the start then all of a sudden they look a lot more secure at the back.
If you were to put the gun to my head on this one I would have to say St Andrews, but they will need to be at their very best to see off a Naomh Eoin side who will fight to the bitter end.
Verdict: St Andrews
We will have Full Live Commentary of the Intermediate Football Final on our Carlow Frequency this Sunday from 1.45pm With thanks to Connolly Topline Royal Oak Road Bagenalstown for all your hardware and DIY needs, connollystopline.ie