05 Oct 2022

PREVIEW: Parish derbies to ignite Offaly Senior “B” Football Championship

Parish derbies to ignite Offaly Senior “B” Football Championship

Clonbullogue are serious contenders for the SFC "B"

THE presence of three teams from the one parish will ignite interest in the Offaly Senior “B” Footbal; Championship.

The three teams are from Clonbullogue parish and the interest in their rivalry will far transcend their own boundaries.

With Bracknagh down from senior ranks and Clonbullogue up from intermediate, they will be joined by their once superiors, Walsh Island in a championship that is fairly wide open.

Walsh Island are one of Offaly football's iconic names, winning six in a row senior football titles from 1978 to 1983 as well as having a golden era in the 1930s and 1940s.

Yet the wheel has turned full circle. While Walsh Island have done well to stay in senior “B” football in recent years, numbers remain a big issue for them and they now rank behind Bracknagh and Clonbullogue in the pecking order.

Clonbullogue have some very exciting young talent and won admirers far and wide for their exciting brand of football as they won intermediate last year. Bracknagh have the experience of playing senior in recent years and also have some excellent footballers – Peter Cunningham is back from an army tour of duty in Syria and he is arguably the most influential player in this championship.

Clonbullogue and Bracknagh are among the starter's favourites for this competition while Tubber, beaten in the final last year by Clara, have been knocking on the door for some time and won't be far away.

Those three are the early favourites but there is a possibility of the winners coming from outside them.

It is the same format as senior with two groups of four and the top team going into the semi-final with second and third criss crossing in two quarter-finals and the bottom team heading into the relegation play off.

The meeting of Walsh Island and Clonbullogue in group 1 will attract huge interest. On form and players, Clonbullogue should be able to win this but Walsh Island will absolutely relish it and it will make for a compelling game. Tubber and Erin Rovers are also in this group.

Tubber and Clonbullogue will be expected to progress and there isn't much between Walsh Island and Erin Rovers. The Pullough men have flattered to deceive at times in recent years and they have plenty of improving to do.

Bracknagh, Ballycumber, St Rynagh's and Gracefield are in group 2. Bracknagh will be clear favourites to progress while Ballycumber have been there or there abouts in recent years but there are questions about them. St Rynagh's are a strong, steady team while Gracefield have entered a transitional period. They have to be given an outside chance in this competition but their form last year does not back this up.

You would expect Ballycumber to get out as well as Bracknagh but this is a hard group to call.

There is a case for making Clonbullogue the favourites. They were outstanding last year as they won the Offaly intermediate and Leinster club junior football championships. They have huge momentum from that and are hungry for success. They were in the doldrums for years and the momentum they have built up could carry them a long way.

They accounted for Bracknagh in the Division 2 Football League final recently and it all argues very well for their prospects. Bracknagh would love to take them on in a big knockout game and this championship will make for great viewing, as usual.

Verdict – Clonbullogue.

First round games

Group 1

Walsh Island v Erin Rovers, Friday July 15 in Durrow at 8pm; Verdict – Erin Rovers.

Clonbullogue v Tubber, Friday July 15 in Rhode at 8pm; Verdict – Clonbullogue.

Group 2

Gracefield v Bracknagh, Friday July 15 in Daingean at 8pm; Verdict – Bracknagh.

Ballycumber v St Rynagh's, Saturday July 16 in Doon at 7pm; Verdict – Ballycumber.

To continue reading this article,
please subscribe and support local journalism!

Subscribing will allow you access to all of our premium content and archived articles.


To continue reading this article for FREE,
please kindly register and/or log in.

Registration is absolutely 100% FREE and will help us personalise your experience on our sites. You can also sign up to our carefully curated newsletter(s) to keep up to date with your latest local news!

Register / Login

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.