Killeshin’s relentless pursuit of silverware in 2011 will come to a head this Friday night, as they travel to Parnell Park to take on Galway outfit Oughterard in the final of the RTE series ‘Celebrity Bainisteoir’.
The Connemara outfit breezed past Lissane in the semi-final, and they will undoubtedly be the stiffest test Killeshin have faced so far. While they don’t have too many household names, the presence of Matthew Clancy, a long time Galway senior and All-Ireland medal winner, in their starting 15 is reason enough to be cautious.
Since their last outing against St Patrick’s of Sligo, Killeshin have won the Laois IFC title and subsequently exited the Leinster championship to St Brigid’s of Offaly, although that defeat came after a gruelling schedule of games had left them ill-prepared for a tilt at provincial glory.
They have been able to focus solely on the final of Celebrity Bainisteoir now, and their stand-in manager Tony Cascarino has been priming them for their latest outing.
On Sunday, the team went down to Mount Juliet for a golf outing, and on the morning of Bank Holiday Monday, a training session was organised which saw Cascarino line out at full-forward against his RTE mentor Ciaran Whelan.
The Killeshin team for the final will only be picked on the morning of the game, with the team heading for Bewley’s Hotel first before then moving on to Parnell Park for the decider. There is also a night of celebrations planned by RTE in the Bewley’s Airport Hotel afterwards, although Killeshin will be hoping they have good reason to celebrate before they walk into the foyer of the hotel.
On the injury front, they have a slight doubt over Shane Lowry who has been struggling with a hamstring injury, but with an All-Ireland final on the line it is unlikely that he will allow it to rule him out of the game completely.
While exiting the Leinster championship was a disappointment for the club, possibly the only disappointment they have encountered this year, it has at least offered them a break ahead of this game. The game with St Brigid’s was their fourth in four weeks, with the previous three weeks seeing them play Annanough in the IFC semi-final, St Pat’s in the Bainisteoir semi-final, and then Ballyroan-Abbey in the IFC final.
None of those were easy games, and this Friday night won’t be any different. There’s nothing in the way of history between the teams to go on, but Killeshin have been an exciting team to watch this year, as they attack at every opportunity and do so at pace. It has stood them well so far, and there’s no reason to think it won’t work the oracle for them once more.