GAA Football

St Enda's can earn another golden moment

THE JOE SHOW: St Enda's midfielder Joe Maskey has been exceptional for the Antrim side Picture Seamus Loughran
By Padraig Kelly

All-Ireland Club Football Intermediate semi-final: St Enda's, Glengormley (Antrim) v An Spidéal (Galway) (tomorrow, Páirc Tailteann, 2pm, live on TG4)

THE greatest of days have already arrived for the St Enda's club in recent months but more golden moments could be on the horizon.

Having annexed a first ever Antrim Intermediate title in October last year and a subsequent provincial crown two months later, they are now just an hour away (barring any extra-time requirements) from running out on the Croke Park turf in an All-Ireland final.

And extra periods can't be ruled out given that Galway outfit An Spidéal provide the opposition in tomorrow's All-Ireland semi-final at Páirc Tailteann, a game set to be beamed around the country by the TG4 cameras.

Donal O'Fatharta's side needed a replay and extra-time to beat neighbours Micheál Breathnach in the Galway final while they also needed extra-time to get past Mayo's Belmullet in the Connacht semi-final.

Even their provincial final looked certain to head that route before they got past Fuerty by a single point.

St Enda's have had no such scares. Gort na Móna got the closest to them in Antrim but five points still separated the teams in the county final.

They won their three Ulster games by a combined 13 points with the stiffest examination coming from Tattyreagh in the semi-final where four late scores saw Frank Fitzsimon's side emerge with a two-point win.

That scoring burst was not surprising when you consider the attacking riches available to the Glengormley outfit – the weapon that will probably swing this tie their way.

They have averaged over 18 points in their seven championship games this season and have banged in 13 goals in the process.

Ruairi Scott has been responsible for four of those goals and he is one of two players to have scored in all seven games alongside Odhran Eastwood. Eoin Nagle has been on target in six games and has a nice habit of grabbing three points from play having done so in three of his last four appearances – he scored 0-4 from play in the other.

Throw in to the mix the likes of Joe Maskey, Peter Healy, Kristian Healy, Ryan Kennedy, Donal Walsh and attacking half-back Conan Lyttle and you have plenty of players who know where the posts are.

While An Spidéal aren't too shabby when it comes to scoring having averaged 16.67 points per game in their nine encounters, you get the feeling that their hopes of progression rest on a solid defensive display.

They have a good starting block anyway in the form of goalkeeper Maghnus Breathnach. It was his inspired intervention that kept them alive in the Galway final replay as his break up field earned the free-kick that secured extra-time and, ultimately, the title.

His credentials shot up further last weekend as he saved from Diarmuid O'Connor and Andy Moran as Galway defeated Mayo after penalties in the FBD semi-final.

Breathnach was on the Galway junior team that lost to Kerry in the All-Ireland final last year and was joined in the first 15 by clubmates Padraig Éoin Ó Curraoin and Antaine Ó Laoí. Former Galway U21 Liam O Cellaigh has also been a real stand-out at corner-back this season and will be tasked with tracking one of St Enda's key men.

The Saffron outfit will have goalkeeper Paddy Flood available as his late red card in the Ulster final against Mullahoran was for the combination of a yellow card and a black and otherwise they should be in okay shape.

The Christmas break gave club members the chance to sit and reflect on a crazy few months of glory for the club. For Fitzsimons, his players and the entire management team it has been a case of looking forward, not back.

If they can ignore the occasion and just play their normal game, then a date at Headquarters should be within their grasp.

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