It’s that time of year again as Longford Slashers and Killoe make their way into the Longford senior football final.
A return for Longford Slashers and Killoe Emmet Og after a seven and four year absence and breaking the Abbeylara / Mullinalaghta run of a form.
Here’s five things to look out of in this year’s Longford SFC final.
- Slow start
These are two teams who don’t go full throttle from the throw-in. Slashers are a young team and it will be on Noel O’Brien’s mind they have a tough 60 minutes ahead.
Killoe have been tactically excellent in the championship so far, expect both teams to feel their way into the game, so five points apiece at half-time might be a high expectation.
- Youthful inexperience to the fore
Slashers might have a bank of minor titles in the bag, but this is a big step-up and a challenge that Slashers have not yet experienced.
Yet the fast game Slashers can deploy may just be enough to lift the Connolly cup. If things are tight in the final 15 minutes, expect Noel O’Brien to let the young dogs off the leash.
- The championship quarter
It’s not just Jim Gavin who calls it the championship quarter, but Sunday’s game will be decided in the first 15 minutes of the second-half.
It will be a tight first half, so the second throw-in will setup whose hands will lift the Connolly Cup.
15 minutes where “love is won or lost” nerves of steel and wings on their heels will undoubtedly decide this final, just expect it to be between minutes 30-45.
- The Killoe drive for the line
There’s just a sense that Killoe’s name is written in the stars. Tommy Donohoe’s side rode the rail early in the championship yet seemed to go up a gear in the knock-out stages.
The performance in the semi-final win over Colmcille points to this drive for the line, like a 5,000 metre runner ready for a sprint down the home straight, picking up the pace throughout the race.
Mark Hughes and Sean McGoldrick are able to finish off the chances, they could be ones to drive Killoe home.
- The beginning of the Slashers era
Just five of the Slashers side that lost out to Killoe in the 2012 final remain with a whole new impetus of Slashers players in the side.
Expectations were low on Slashers for 2019, yet here they are in the county final, a year which was supposed to be a marker to build on.
That marker maybe the Connolly cup and the feeling that once they get over the line, the Longford title might just be making a few returns.