The bookmakers suggest it’s a virtual foregone conclusion but Darren O’Reilly has some inside information to share about the AIB Leinster club final.
The Ballyboden St Enda’s forward was part of a strong team that headed down to Carlow to play Éire Óg, their opponents this weekend, just last August and they barely escaped with a draw.
According to O’Reilly, it took two late goals from the 2016 All-Ireland winners to rescue the result, leading him to baulk at Éire Óg’s 4/1 odds for the provincial final.
“They kind of dominated us for the majority of the game,” said O’Reilly. “We needed two late goals so we’re definitely not going to be taking them lightly. We know all about them, they’re a big physical side, they like to get numbers back and break on the counter attack and they have Chris Blake up front, he’s got 3-17 I think in the last four games, he’s dangerous off both feet.
“Darragh O’Brien at centre-forward is a man who likes to transition the ball quickly. He’s a great link man and they’re definitely going to be dangerous and there’s no way we’re going to be taking them for granted in any way, shape or form.
Eire Og won five Leinster titles between 1992 and 1998 though ‘Boden were All-Ireland winners as recently as 2016. And few teams in the entire country, let alone Éire Óg, can rival the south-Dublin club for its sheer size and resources.
O’Reilly reckons ‘Boden field at least 115 clubs in four different codes, making it one of the biggest amateur sporting clubs in Europe. That, of course, has led to claims that they’re among a group of Dublin ‘superclubs’ though O’Reilly said the reality on the ground is a lot different.
“It might have this kind of aura looking in from the outside of being a superclub but it definitely has a community feel,” he said.
There’s a lot of people involved, a lot of faces that you see but then again you still see the same couple of hundred out supporting the senior team week in, week out and that’s where the community side comes into it.
“It’s other people using that (superclub) term and it’s like water off a duck’s back at this stage. If you’re going on size, we’re lucky with the catchment area we’re in; we have Rathfarnham, Templeogue, Ballyboden, Ballyroan. It’s a geographical advantage obviously but it doesn’t put points over the bar. It doesn’t put players on the pitch.”
Meanwhile, the Dublin county board will tomorrow night give the green light for a three-man sub committee to speak to those interested in replacing five-in-a-row winning boss Jim Gavin.
The identity of that sub-committee has been kept under wraps though they will have to work quickly to have a preferred candidate for ratification at tomorrow week’s annual convention, which Dublin chairman Sean Hanley has stated would be the ideal scenario.
Meanwhile Armagh legend Oisin McConville has been appointed as manager of Monaghan club, Inniskeen Grattans while former Mayo star Liam McHale will take charge of Athlone’s senior footballers in 2020
“Liam brings a wealth of experience to the role, having previously served as a coach and selector with several teams, including the Mayo and Roscommon senior teams.”