*Scariff senior hurling manager, Mark McKenna chatting to Eoin Brennan. Photograph: Ruth Griffin
A HIGH-SCORING final is on the cards when Ballyea and Éire Óg cross swords according to Scariff boss Mark McKenna and he maintained whichever attack catches fire will be the side to claim the Canon Hamilton.
Spectators will be treated to seeing some of the county’s top hurlers in action for their clubs in what is hoped to be a memorable contest.
Scariff faced Éire Óg in this year’s championship with McKenna seeing close up how clinical the Ennis side can be. “We came up against Éire Óg this year, they were in our group and they got a good run on us early that day and we did manage to peg it back to three points but looking at them up close, they are a strong and polished outfit, all their key players played well against us and they have continued that form. I’ve watched Ballyea twice this year and when you go to watch Ballyea you know what you’re going to get. The two form teams have reached the county final, I think that’s fair to say and they are two quality teams”.
While Robbie Hogan will be trying to dilute the influence of Shane O’Donnell and Shane O’Donnell, Matt Shannon will equally be focused on limiting the involvement of Tony Kelly, Mark said. “With the quality on display from both sides, I’m sure backroom teams will try to nullify Tony Kelly, Shane O’Donnell or David Reidy which to be honest I’m not sure is possible but you have to try limit them. Against us, Shane O’Donnell was in a humour which is very hard to stop. A final can often come down to workrate and who works the hardest, the backroom teams will have their preparation done to counteract each side. Tony Kelly’s influence will also be very hard to curtail. In short, it will be about workrate and fronting up on the day, you don’t have any other choice for a county final”.
Whichever attack is on form will be the side to claim victory, McKenna commented. “Whatever the weather forecast is it will still come down to the team who scores the most. Each set of defenders will have to be playing the game of their lives with the quality of forwards on display, the forwards for each team are very hard to stop from scoring if they get a run on you. Good weather or bad, it should still be a high scoring game. For me, up front is where this county final will be won”.
He continued, “It’s fair tight to call when you think about it. There’s a couple of ways of weighing it up. Ballyea are defending champions and they know what it takes to win, they won’t be beaten easy. Éire Óg are really in form, this is their first year getting to the county final having come very close with semi-finals and quarter-finals in recent years, they won’t be beaten too easy. I’m going to give Éire Óg a tentative vote because I’ve seen them up close and I know the ferocity and firepower they will bring”.