Moycullen favourites to capture Connacht crown

9/7/2022 Galways Sean Kelly in action with Derrys Niall Loughlin with Paul Cassidy in Saturdays All Ireland Football Semi Final at Croke Park Picture Seamus Loughran
Shaun Casey

Kilcoo and Glen will battle it out for provincial honours next Sunday but for both teams and their managers, one eye may just turn slightly towards the Connacht championship final taking place this weekend.

Whoever comes through the clash of Moycullen and Tourlestrane will await the Ulster winners in the All-Ireland semi-final and the teams competing for the Andy Merrgian Cup will be reduced from eight to six by Sunday evening as the Leinster final also takes place.

Tourlestrane have been the dominant force in Sligo for the best part of a decade, having won seven county titles in a row and are currently on a 42-game unbeaten run inside the county, but have failed to make much headway on the provincial stage.

In fact, the Yeats County as a whole have performed quite poorly in the Connacht championship. They've only won the competition three times, with St Mary's being the most recent Sligo side to lift the Connacht title back in 1983.

Tourlestrane, managed by former Roscommon footballer Fergal O'Donnell, are the first Sligo representatives to reach the decider since Eastern Harps in 2008. Six second half points was enough to see them past St Mary's of Leitrim in the semi-final and qualified Tourlestrane for their first crack at a Connacht crown since 1982.

Moycullen are the heavy favourites ahead of Sunday's showdown, having impressively navigated their way past a Lee Keegan-inspired Westport and a steely tough Strokestown along the way.

It took extra time for Don Connellan's side to eventually shake off the attentions of Roscommon champions Strokestown, with a goal from Galway captain Sean Kelly securing their spot in their first ever provincial decider.

Kelly is one of a number of panellists from Padraic Joyce's Galway side that reached the All-Ireland final, and also the only starter from that game against the Kingdom of Kerry.

Paul Kelly, Owen Gallagher and Dessie Conneelly were all unused subs but are key men for their club side, as is former Galway midfielder Peter Cooke.

A win for Tourlestrane would be huge for Sligo football, but it looks like Moycullen hold all the aces here and they are most likely to come through and will surely have a keen eye on next Sunday's Ulster final.