Adam Mangan, David McElduff, Jacob Beatty celebrate with Morgan Tynan after he jumped into the Cusack stand to join his Ballinagar club mates after Offaly's great win over Roscommon
TULLAMORE are the team to beat in the Tullamore Court Hotel Junior Football Championship. They were also the team to beat last year but were over powered by a fired up Daingean in the final.
Despite that, however, they are clear favourites to get out this year. As a club they need to target winning this. Offaly's fourth tier is way too far back for their second team. They are a big club in the biggest population base in Offaly and they have a huge pick.
They have a quality of experienced and emerging footballer that very few can match at this level. Ballinagar can certainly match it in terms of young players coming up. With Offaly U-20 star Morgan Tynan in their ranks and several other players who have played minor for the county in recent years, they should be a coming team. They should be able to win this championship in the next couple of years but they lack a bit of experience at the moment, they don't have enough strength in that crucial 25-30 age group and they could have to wait a year or two. Yet if they can get their act together and get on a roll, they can be close. They are contenders.
It looks to be a fairly well balanced championship and the groups are evenly divided. The top team in each group goes into the semi-final with second and third into two quarter-finals.
Tullamore, Clara, Ballinagar and Rhode are in group 1 while group 2 consists of Doon, Kilclonfert, Edenderry and Tulach Mhor.
Interestingly Tullamore have two teams in this championship. They won the junior “B” last year and decided to go up, calling their second team An Tulack Mhor. They have to name fifteen players for their Tullamore side and no one from An Tulach Mhor can move up to that squad – players from both can be played at senior level.
Clara will also have prospects while Kilclonfert have been knocking on the door for some time. They have an Offaly senior footballer in Cathal Mangan and a strong back bone. They are contenders but have a limited pick – they have declined a bit in the last year plus.
Doon won junior football two years ago but went straight back down and its hard to know with them while the second team of Edenderry and Rhode should be strong – but they haven't been able to win this championship in a while.
Tullamore will have a number of fine young footballers graduating onto their senior team this year. This will see others regraded and they should be stronger this year than in 2020 at junior level. They really should be able to get across the line this year.
Verdict – Tullamore.
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