Raheen's James Lalor
IT has been a somewhat strange Offaly Intermediate Football Championship which has now reached the final stage with Clonbullogue and Raheen to clash on the weekend of Octoer 30/31.
They qualified for the final on Saturday afternoon with Clonbullogue defeating Daingean by 1-14 to 1-5 and Raheen over powering their parish rivals, Clodiagh Gaels, 5-17 to 1-9.
The results were tinged with irony. Daingean had defeated Clonbullogue on the way to topping their group while a fine first round win over Raheen had set Clodiagh Gaels up to claim top spot in the other one.
Daingean and Clodiagh Gaels had qualified straight for the semi-finals as group winners while Clonbullogue and Raheen had to win quarter-finals, beating Shannonbridge and St Brigid's, respectively. Normally the group winners are favourites for the semi-finals but that wasn't the case here as Daingean and Clodiagh Gaels wore the underdogs hat. And these predictions were proven correct in two fairly routine wins for Clonbullgue and Raheen.
Raheen took control early enough in their game against the Killeigh-Killurin club. They were 1-4 to 1-1 up at the water break and they had the game in the bag when they led by 1-11 to 1-1 at half time. Clodiagh Gaels fought hard in the second half but were never close enough to win. They trailed by 3-11 to 1-8 at the water break and were blown out of the water in the fourth quarter as Raheen pulled away for a very impressive win. Clodiagh Gaels could only manage one further point while Raheen ran in 2-6.
Clonbullogue started brightly against Daingean, taking a 0-4 to no score lead at the first half water break but the losers fought back well to trail by a point, 0-5 to 1-1 at half time. Clonbullogue, however, pulled away in the second half. They led by 1-9 to 1-2 at the water break but Clonbullogue finished strongly for a deserved nine point win.
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