On Sunday afternoon Division One side Teemore will take on Division Two team Brookeboro in the Intermediate Championship. The Shamrocks are widely tipped to make the final after contesting the senior championship decider against Roslea last year and the fact they have been playing a higher quality of opposition all year makes them firm favourites to progress.
Brookeboro on the other hand will be aiming to turn their season around after a poor run in the league. Under the guidance of Gerry Boyle the Heber McMahons will hope to put it up to the Shamrocks this weekend. When Boyle last managed this side, five years ago, he brought them to a championship final but they lost out to Erne Gaels by three points.
Boyle says his side are hopeful more than anything else about getting a win under their belts: "We'll go out and give Teemore a good game. It's only one game after all, so it's all on the day. It's 15 against 15 for both teams but we know they've some very good players, Hugh Brady and Barry Owens to mention but two." Teemore manager Paddy McKeever says they won't be letting complacency creep into their game: "Last year we were in a similar position to Brookeboro in that we were facing teams who were playing in a higher division than us .As we learned last year and others learned, league form and championship form are two different things. The boys will be aware of that and there'll be no complacency in that respect. If we perform we'll have every chance of winning," claims the Armagh man.
Teemore have put together three league wins on the bounce and McKeever says you can sense a growing enthusiasm amongst the team for their football: "With people coming back from training and the three wins on the trot there's more of a buzz and a lot more energy at training. Hopefully if we get past Sunday we'll get even more players back and add to that." Teemore have injury concerns over keeper Martin McManus who went off during last weekend's league match against Lisnaskea. McKeever is hopeful Declan McDonald will be fit but is resigned to being without the services of Declan Fitzpatrick and Gary Fitzpatrick.
With the recent spate of injuries other players have had their chance to shine for the Shamrocks and one player who has seized the opportunity is Paddy McManus. The tall forward can win ball and can take his scores. His brother Eoin has also impressed in attack. He's a strong player who can win the ball well. The more experienced players like Joey Donegan, Gerry Quinlan and John Fitzpatrick will be difficult to contain if they're in full flow.
Brookeboro have key men who can contest with any team in the county though. Tommy McElroy has been in fine form and will undoubtedly make his trademark runs out of defence and has proven he can pick off scores. John Melarkey will need to win ample possession at midfield if Brookeboro are to pull off a shock victory and up front Niall Rooney, Niall Moane and Aidan Boyle will need to take their chances when they present themselves.
Brookeboro are a team in transition given the number of players that have emigrated. Since last years they've lost seven players who brought a wealth of experience to the team but Boyle is concentrating on the present rather than reflecting upon the past: "You can only play with what you have" he says. On Sunday he's asking the current crop of players to give it all they've got: "We've absolutely nothing to lose and we'll give it our best shot," says Gerry adamantly.