McDaid’s absence big blow but Monivea-Abbey to do it


CILLIAN McDaid’s fractured tibia is the main talking point ahead of Saturday’s intermediate football final (Tuam Stadium, 2:30pm) as Monivea-Abbey’s captain is ruled out of their clash with last year’s runners-up Kilconly.

The All-Star winning midfielder, playing corner forward for the club, retired after 19 minutes in their semi-final against Cortoon Shamrocks and returned to the bench with his calf strapped before the full diagnosis became known.

It’s a blow for Francis Roche’s team looking to jump straight back up after going down from senior in 2022. They lost four championship matches overall in 2022 by narrow margins, including the relegation loss (0-8 to 0-7) to St. James’.

After finishing bottom of their group in 2021, Kilconly have become a consistent second-tier force and finished just two points short of Dunmore MacHales in last year’s decider.

And while the parish north west of Tuam will fully believe they can end their 13-year wait for silverware after a first intermediate time in 2011, they have concerns as full forward Conor Marsden was absent through injury for their penultimate hurdle against Oileáin Árann.

Norman O’Brien’s team are marginal favourites with some bookmakers. And they have shown their mental strength throughout this campaign winning all five games by three points or less.

They started with Kilkerrin/Clonberne (2-5 to 0-9) before accounting for Cortoon Shamrocks (2-15 to 1-15). And they topped Group A with a 2-13 to 0-16 victory over Micheál Breathnach.

St. Brendan’s were beaten 2-12 to 1-13 in the quarter-final. And Kilconly held firm in dispatching Oileáin Árann 0-13 to 0-11, with former Galway forward Paul Mannion kicking nine points in a man of the match display.

There could be as many as five changes from last year’s final. Tommy Mannion remains in goal; while Conor O’Neill has dropped from attack to full back; Eoin Daly has moved inside to number 6.

JP Byrne, Cian Davin and Jonathan Mannion are survivors in defence while Emmet Sweeney has been ever present at corner back.

Pictured: Monivea-Abbey’s Philip Muldowney is about to be challenged by David Finnegan of Cortoon Shamrocks in the County Intermediate Football Semi-Final. His team face Kilconly in Saturday’s decider at Tuam Stadium.

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