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Football Predictions

Published 2 years ago 29th August 2021 by Big John

Senior Football

The 2021 FBD Insurance Senior Football Championship kicks off next weekend (Friday 3rd September). Like in 2020, the format this year will be 4 groups of 4 teams. The top 2 teams in each group qualify for the county quarter finals which will be played this year. The 4 winners will play the 4 runners up in the quarter finals (this will be an open draw with no repeat pairings) with the semi-finals also an open draw and no repeat pairings where possible.

The bottom 2 teams in each group enter the quarter finals of The Tom Cusack Cup where the 3rd place teams from the county championship groups will play the 4th placed teams (open draw no repeat pairings). The 4 winners of The Tom Cusack Cup quarter finals will progress to semi-finals (open draw no repeat pairings if possible) while the 4 losers of the Tom Cusack quarter final matches enter relegation playoffs with one team to be relegated.

The groups for the FBD Insurance Senior Football County Championship are as follows:

Predictions: Group 1:

Group 1 is an interesting group where the final placings may well come down to how much attention Upperchurch/Drombane pay to senior football this year. If they are even on nodding terms with football, such is the talent within their squad that a quarter final place is theirs for the taking. However, word on the street suggests that they are continuing to chase the impossible hurling dream and therefore they remain vulnerable in this group especially as I would expect them to progress out of their group in the senior hurling championship. They play Moyle Rovers in the first round and I fully expect the South men to come out on top here. In fact I would expect Moyle Rovers to progress through this group unbeaten.

The group kicks off on Friday 3rd September with the meeting of Cahir and newly crowned West Tipperary champions Aherlow. It’s a game that earlier in the year I would have said Cahir would win easily but having watched Aherlow twice in the past two weeks, they seem to have more about them this year than they have had for a few years and a draw in this game wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

Group 1 Prediction: Moyle Rovers and a tentative vote for Upperchurch/Drombane!

Group 2:

Group 2 should see Kilsheelan/Kilcash progress with the minimum of fuss as long as they don’t get in their own way by overthinking the game. When they go out and play front foot attacking football they are one of the best teams in the county and an absolute joy to watch. However, when they meet some of the ‘big teams’ in the competition they tend to retreat into their shell and play a defensive game that, put simply, they are not that good at playing. They seem afraid to take risks when in truth they are taking more of a risk by not taking a risk!

Ballyporeen will be most peoples favourites to progress and they should. However, Moyne and Annacarty, two villages that never reared a fool, are well capable of exploiting any weakness or complacency in the Ballyporeen set up with Moyne/Templetouhy, under the guidance of former county player, Liam England, the most likely to cause an upset in this group.

Group 2 Prediction: Kilsheelan/Kilcash and Ballyporeen

Group 3:

Clonmel Commercials will moonwalk their way through this group leaving the battle for second spot between 3 evenly matched teams.

I’m old enough to remember when you were drawn against a West Tipperary football team in the championship, you knew you were in for a battle. However, in recent years football in West Tipperary has regressed to the extent that West teams are now more likely to be involved in relegation battles rather than title challenges. Arravale Rovers are a case in point. One of the great traditional football clubs in Tipperary and for so long the standard setters in West Tipperary, Arravale are a side that have regressed at senior level, which is surprising as they have produced some good underage teams over the past number of years. It would appear they are putting more effort into the hurling these days which is welcome but they need to remember what made them a great club in the first place and be careful not to completely abandon their tradition. I’m reminded of the novelist C.K Chesterton who wrote ‘don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason you put it up”

If Moycarkey fielded a full strength team they would keep it kicked out to the best of them but a lot will depend on how their opening game in the hurling goes next weekend.

While most teams have good days and bad days, Ardfinnan trade in a far dicer market. They are either brilliant or appalling, However, I do expect them to get a bounce from the arrival of Tom McGlincy as manager, whom I think will draw more consistent performances from a talented but ultimately under performing Ardfinnan team.

Group 3 Prediction: Clonmel Commercials and Ardfinnan

Group 4:

Group 4 looks to me to be the easiest group to predict. Loughmore/Castleiney are obviously favourites to top the group and they should be joined in the quarter finals by J.K. Brackens. Killenaule could prove to be the fly in the ointment but their ambitions will be to go deep into the Seamus O’Riann championship while newly promoted Rockwell Rovers eyes will probably be focused on the Tom Cusack Cup later in the year.

Group 4 Prediction: JK Brackens and Loughmore/Castleiney

Intermediate Football:

This is a championship that badly needs a radical structural change (maybe Premier Intermediate and Intermediate) but that’s a debate for a different day.

15 teams have entered the 2021 FBD Insurance Intermediate Football Championship and the format this year will be 3 groups of 4 teams plus 1 group with 3 teams. The top 2 teams in each group qualify for the county quarter finals. The 4 winners will play the 4 runners up in the quarter finals (this will be an open draw with no repeat pairings) with the semi-finals also an open draw with no repeat pairings where possible. As Kiladangan were relegated back to junior last year and as no junior championship was played in 2020, there is no relegation in Intermediate Football this year.

The groups for the FBD Insurance Intermediate

Football County Championship are as follows:

Predictions: Group 1:

Group 1 could easily be described as the group of death with 3 local derbies in store. The upside to this is the two teams that emerge from this group will be ideally set up to go much deeper into the championship.

I recently saw Grangemockler winning the delayed 2020 U21 County Final. I couldn’t have been more impressed. They play football like they have read ever Roy of the Rovers comic book and believed every word. They will no doubt call on a lot of that U21 team to make up

their intermediate team and despite their youth, I fully expect last years beaten Intermediate County finalists to progress.

This will leave the Mullinahone v Clonmel Og game as a winner takes all match. Og have being trying for a while to reach the promised land of senior football and no doubt there were times over the past few years when manager Colm Purcell must have felt like the sun would never rise again. They have the ability to win an intermediate championship but on-field discipline has cost them on too many occasions. Mullinahone will provide a stern test if fully committed but with senior hurling remaining their priority, they may not be willing to give the football their all which will obviously play into Clonmel Og’s hands.

Group 1 Prediction: Grangemockler/Ballyneale and Clonmel Og.

Group 2:

Many years ago I spent a week golfing in Spain with a group of lads from Golden/Kilfeacle and I will admit to having a soft spot for that club ever since and so my judgement is a bit biased here. Beaten finalist in 2018, they haven’t hit those dizzy heights since but should still have enough to qualify out of this group which includes the second teams from both Loughmore/Casleiney and Clonmel Commercials.

It’s hard to believe that Fethard, the most successful football club in Tipperary’s history are now playing intermediate football. The draw has not being kind to them here with the Clonmel Commercials conveyor belt likely to roll out a talented intermediate side that may well include a few current county u20 and past Tipperary senior footballers

Group 2 Prediction: Golden/Kilfeacle and Clonmel Commercials.

Group 3:

This group should look straight forward enough but might not be. Galtee Rovers who were relegated last year should top this group and Drom-Inch will be favourites to follow them through in second place. However, I don’t expect Drom to field a full side in this competition as the concentrate on trying to keep their senior hurling status and if they go too weak that will leave the door open for Fr Sheehy’s to try take full advantage.

Group 3 Prediction: Galtee Rovers and a tentative nod in the direction of Drom-Inch

Group 4:

Borrisokane and Clonoulty in this group will have eyes on their respective hurling championships and that leaves the door wide open for the seconds teams of Moyle Rovers and JK Brackens to walk right through with the minimum of fuss.

Group 4 Prediction: Moyle Rovers and JK Brackens

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