Christian Brazil, Shannonbridge and Ed Bennett, Clonbullogue
THE first round of the Tullamore Court Hotel Intermediate Football Championship did not exactly go as expected but the results were very much in the category of mild surprises more than huge upsets.
The clear evidence from the first round is that this championship will be very closely contested and there are no obvious favourites yet.
The big losers were Kilcormac-Killoughey who were walloped by a fired up Clonbullogue, 2-17 to 0-10 in group 2. It is a win that augurs well for Clonbullogue's prospects and they have a fine, exciting young team. Despite the nature of their defeat, Kilcormac-Killoughey still can't be ruled out. With the top team in each group going into the semi-finals and the next two into quarter-finals, they have room to recover.
K/K had lost to St Rynagh's in the 2020 senior hurling final the previous week and the aftermath of this as they mourned their loss and then celebrated Offaly's All-Ireland U-20 football win on Sunday would certainly not have helped their preparations for this.
In the other group 2 game, Daingean staged a sensational late second half rally to surprise neighbours St Brigid's, 1-10 to 0-10. Daingean seemed to be heading to defeat when they trailed by 0-9 to 0-5 with ten minutes left and were reduced to fourteen men when Cathal Nolan was sent off. However, they destroyed the Croghan men late on, scoring 1-5 without reply and it was a great win for the 2020 junior champions with Odhran Connolly getting the crucial goal.
There were two big results in group 1 with Clodiagh Gaels defeating parish rivals Raheen by 2-12 to 2-11 while Shannonbridge edged out Ballycommon, 4-11 to 2-16 in a high scoring shootout.
Round 2 fixtures take place on the weekend of September 4/5 and the first round losers will be very anxious to get off the mark. In group 1, Ballycommon take on Clodiagh Gaels while Raheen meet Shannonbridge. The group 2 fixtures are Kilcormac-Killoughey v St Brigid's and Daingean v Clonbullogue.
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