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03 Dec 2021

Kildare SFC Final: All things considered though, there should be only one result

Hot pots versus the Underdogs

Kildare SFC Final: All things considered though, there should be only one result

The aristocrats versus the newcomers.
The experienced versus the new arrivals.
The side laden with multiple championship victories versus a side bereft of same.
Sarsfields v Naas.
Senior Football Championship final 2021, Sunday, St Conleth's.
Naas won their last title back in 1990, were in the final again the following year but fell to Clane, the side they defeated 12 months previously. Before that Naas had not won a senior title since 1932.
In that thirty years since Naas' last appearance The Sash have been on centre stage no less than sixteen times, lifting the trophy on nine occasions.
All things considered though, there should be only one result.
But sport is not like that.
Thank God.
Just like the gee-gees the favourites don't always win.
Unfortunately.
All things considered though, there should be only one result.
Sarsfields were here just two seasons ago putting a halt to Moorefield's bid for three-in-a-row.
There manager (Sarsfields) not only knows the ropes but has been there and done that.
Padraig Brennan was an outstanding player for Kildare — when Kildare were close to the top of the pile.
He is a leader, on and off the field of play, he is used to making the hard decisions, as was shown in the semi-final against Celbridge.
All things considered though, there should be only one result.
Naas on the other hand have had some problems in that regard having dispensed with their manager just ten days before the semi final, the players stepped in, took control, too charge of the ship and remain at the helm.
After that sort of turmoil it was an absolute credit to them, especially now player-manager Eoin Doyle and team captain Eamonn Callaghan. But will all that fuss and bother and turmoil affect them come final day?
A senior football championship final is a very stressful time; players have various and different ways of dealing with that but having to be heavily involved in team preparation, along with team selection and all that goes with that is really adding pressure onto pressure
All things considered though, there should be only one result.
But Naas have not just landed in the final from nowhere.
Remember back in 2019 they lifted the Leinster Leader Cup, they have dominated at underage level, from U16, to minor to U21, for a number of seasons now.
And while they had a bit of a disastrous 2019 championship after taking that league title, they have since dusted themselves down, got back up on the horse and ready to go again.
To say they have enjoyed a big season in 2021 is somewhat stating the obvious. Some of their younger players have made remarkable strides, and on the big stage at that.
Players such as Darragh Kirwan, Paddy McDermott, Alex Beirne (hopefully fit to play on Sunday); add it the experience of Eoin Doyle, Eamonn Callaghan, Brian Byrne, Paul Sullivan, Brian Kane, James Burke and the new(ish) lads such as Tom Brown, Jack Cleary, Dermot Hanafin, not forgetting Sean Cullen, Luke Griffin, Shane Bergin, and a few others that are showing, when asked, are more than up to the task.
All things considered though, there should be only one result.
Sarsfields come into this one as roaring hot favourites (2/5).
They have been favs since before we even knew if we would have a championship in 2021.
Still looking back on their side from earlier in this championship they have chopped and changed as the voyage progressed.
Changes at full back, centre back, midfield and one or two other positions.
All things considered though, there should be only one result.
They have Barry Coffey back and firing on all cylinders. A stylish forward who has made his mark on the big day before, and can do so again.
Shea Ryan is now on the edge of the square and a big contender for that position in a white jersey come the New Year; Con Kavanagh has been outstanding at no. 6 and can also look forward to making that shirt number his own on the county scene.
Darragh Ryan and the returned Ciaran Aspell make up an exciting half back line.
All things considered though, there should be only one result.
Midfield is causing some concern, it will be interesting to see who gets the nod there. Could Matty Byrne be 'parachuted' in I wonder.
Up front the options are many.
The man known simply as 'Ben' has pace and power. We have already mentioned the Coffey man, add in Conor Hartley, Shane Doyle and team captain Alan Smith while Dan Nea showed when the pressure is on he can deliver as he did with that vital free against Celbridge. As for the bench, it is strong, very strong, with no shortage of talent.
All things considered though, there should be only one result.
Still, this final, regardless of the odds, has all the hall marks of being one top loaded with skill, fetching ability and finishing power. A game fuelled with players of the future and many who have given it their all for both club and county.
All things considered though, there should be only one result.
In many respects there will be no real pressure on Naas, certainly nothing like the pressure that the boys from county's second town will experience.
But then again that is what makes Sarsfields what they are, a team that can stand up to pressure, they have shown that on more than one occasion this year, as they have done so for many years in the past.
All things considered though, there should be only one result.
Frame of mind will be vital on Sunday and that's for sure.
If Naas are to succeed they will have to forget who they are playing; banish thoughts of Sarsfields, their reputation and their successes, especially in the build-up, easier said than done though.
The big worry, from a Naas point of view, is who will make the big calls on the day; will there be some-
one who will do what Padraig Brennan did in the semi final, look at the game as it is evolving, forget about who is inside any particular shirt, and if changes are needed have the balls to call it.
That for me is the big issue in this final.
All things considered though, there should be only one result.
Taking everything into consideration the favourites should prevail but as we said at the outset favourites don't always come through and if the boys with The Sash come into this one anyway, even a fraction, over-confident or over/ under-cooked, well, there will be only one result, and it is not the one that most would expect on this championship final day of 2021!

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