The JFC championship trophy has so far failed to locate Ardcath on its Sat Nav, but even if it has to use Google maps as a guide it should arrive in East Meath some time this Saturday afternoon.
St Vincent’s have lost two of the last three JFC deciders and incredibly missed out on the 2019 final altogether, a season when both finalists were promoted to the IFC, so they have a multitude of reasons to defeat Dunsany in Pairc Tailteann, (Saturday, 12.45).
And there are plenty of reasons to fancy them to so not least of which is the fact that so far they have been the best side in the grade throughout the group and knockout stages without ever playing particularly well.
In fact at one stage in a group game against Kilbride they trailed by seven points and rallied to win and in the semi final they gifted St Ultan’s a last minute penalty to level the game before advancing by a point in extra time.
Vincent’s have changed things around a little bit this term utilising some of their more experienced players as impact subs, a role Tommy Fields fills to perfection.
Up front they have the grade’s deadliest forward in Nigel Hand, accurate from frees and play in equal measure and one who will prosper in the wide open spaces of HQ.
Likewise his brother Ryan in a more withdrawn role will use every blade of grass to display his powerful engine.
Defence is the Ardcath sides Achilles heel but they somehow always find a way to score more than they concede.
Dunsany lost out in the final in 2015 and in 2016, they were also beaten in the finals in 2002 and 2009 as well as multiple semi-finals – they really have been the JFC hard luck story of the last two decades and like their opponents would not be winning out of turn.
With players such as Conor Harkin in their ranks the reds will be making plans for Nigel and certainly
won’t fold easily.
However the Vincent’s appear to have more firepower though and are taken to mark Hugh Durrigan’s initial year as manager with a treble having already won the delayed 2020 and 2021 Tailteann Cup.