John McDonagh will be hoping to maintain his excellent form when Dunshaughlin take on Cooley Kickhams in Pairc Tailteann on Saturday.

Leinster Club IFC Preview: Firepower can boost Kealy’s side to victory


There is no doubt Dunshaughlin are a rising force in Meath football; on their way back to where they once were. The way the three time winners of the Keegan Cup stormed their way to the Meath IFC title this year underlined the range of talent in the current squad.

Now the question is: Can they follow that up by making a major impact on the provincial stage? Can they defeat Cooley Kickhams in Saturday's semi-final at Pairc Tailteann, 1.30pm. The evidence suggests they can.

They have certainly made a good start to their campaign defeating Kildare side Ballyteague by a very comprehensive 2-19 to 0-10 in their quarter-final clash at Pairc Tailteann in the quarter-final.

Not that they had it all their own way in that game. In the opening half the Dunshaughlin players got a taste of what it's like on the provincial front; just how awkward and difficult opponents can be; how they can be bullied and harried if they allow it to happen. At the break the sides were level, 0-6 apiece.

The second-half was different. Then Richie Kealy's Dunshaughlin side started to play with a swashbuckling ease and panache that simply blew the Ballyteague challenge away. Their level of performance in that second-half suggests the players, and the management, learned a lot from their lacklustre opening half performance.

Cooley Kickhams certainly had to work hard to overcome the challenge of Dublin side Naomh Barrog in their quarter-final encounter. According to despatches the Louth side utilsed an oxygen-denying press on the Naomh Barrog players and this was one of the foundation stones of their success. Dunshaughlin players can expect something similar.

The Cooley Kickham manager is Colm Nally who is very familiar with Meath football having coached teams such as St Colmcille's and worked with the Meath seniors during Andy McEntee's spell in charge. Kickhams have players such as Patrick Johnston and Cian O'Cnnnor who are well capable of translating chances into scores.

Dunshaughlin are also proficient at doing that also on their day. They have some fearsome firepower with John McDonagh, Mathew Costello, Aaron Murphy and Luke Mitchell among those who can inflict pain on opponents. They can do so against the Kickhams.