Preview: Finely balanced IFC semi-finals set to go down to the wire tomorrow

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Preview: Finely balanced IFC semi-finals set to go down to the wire tomorrow
21:10 Friday 22nd of September 2017

Kilcock v Monasterevan, St Conleth’s Park, Saturday 1.45pm

Many people have plumped for Kilcock to come through this game after taking the scalps of teams such as Raheens and Ballyteague en route to the last four, but there is something about this Monasterevan side that makes them quite endearing to the neutral.

At times they have looked out of games during this championship season, and when they were easily beaten by an 11-point margin at the hands of Clogherinkoe in the opening round of this campaign, it looked like their return to the Intermediate grade would not be quite so good.

Since then they have just about gotten over teams such as Ellistown and Nurney, but in the quarter-final they gunned down Suncroft by 3-11 to 1-10 in a real display of confidence. They have the most entertaining forward duo left in the competition – Padraig Nash and Wayne Fitzpatrick – and they seem to be hitting their stride at the right time.

Kilcock were not fancied by many at the beginning of the campaign, but they have seamlessly motored through the rounds to reach this stage. Aside from a win over Raheens, they have been afforded a relatively decent draw, though the same can be said for their opponents on Saturday.

This game will be close, there is no doubt about that, but there is a sneaky suspicion that the blues will pull through.

Verdict: Monasterevan

Clogherinkoe v Raheens, St Conleth’s Park, Saturday 3.30pm

Most people will be looking at this game and presuming that the outright winners of the championship will emerge from this tie, and for good reason. Raheens have had to battle through tough games against Rathangan and St Kevin’s in the last round, the latter result being particularly eye-catching as the two sides were regarded as favourites for the Intermediate title.

Both of these two teams are finely balanced; solid goalkeepers behind a sturdy defence, while their midfield men are powerful and capable ball players. It is up front that both of these sides are best stocked however, so this could be a high-scoring game. While Cein McMonagle, Mark Nolan and Ciaran Gravin have all played pivotal roles for Clogherinkoe this term, it is last year’s county minor star, Jack Robinson, who has been their leading light. The youngster scored 11 points in a splendid showing as Clogherinkoe edged by Two Mile House in the quarter-final, and whoever picks him up on Saturday is in for a busy day.

At the other end, Raheens are a bit more balanced as no one player has stood too high above the rest. They have a great blend of pace and physicality thanks to the likes of Liam Power and David Fitzpatrick, while Paddy Woodgate and Alan Igoe provide the panache from the half-forward line.

This one is incredibly hard to call, and we may be returning a week later for a replay.

Verdict: Draw

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