Finian’s bouncing back

by Karl Graham

AFTER a few seasons of doom and gloom, the St Finian’s intermediate football team are in the midst of a campaign with fond memories.
Relegation from AFL Division 3 last season sparked a team overhaul which seems to have already resulted in better fortunes as they currently sit third in Division 4, having played all their games.
It means they have a promotion playoff place in the bag but still await who they will meet. At the time of going to press, they also were through to the intermediate championship quarter-finals where they faced Fingallians on Wednesday night.
The winner of that tie will be back in action on Sunday, October 23 against Naomh Fhionnbarra.
But St Finian’s mentor Anthony McDonagh told GazetteSport that it has been a fine turnaround for the team managed by Shane Treanor.
“The team got off to a slow start by been beating in two out of the first three games after been relegated but we have successfully got ourselves into the playoffs now to go from a bad start to finishing the season pretty well.”
When asked what he thinks caused the turnaround in performances from the team, McDonagh pointed at the typical gestation period teams go through when building a new squad.
“Bringing new players into the team and trying to get the team up and running can be difficult. When you go through a season of relegation there are a lot of scars left over and it can be hard to get it right straight away. It took the team a while to gel.”
With the winners of the group gaining promotion automatically, the next four teams enter the playoffs to see who will be joining them in Division 3 next season. Round Tower, Lusk won the league at a canter, leaving St Finian’s, St Marks, Kilmacud Crokes, and one of St Finians Newcastle and Good Counsel to enter the playoffs.
Kilmacud look the likely playoff opponent at the semi-final stage of the playoffs with home advantage still to be decided. McDonagh also spoke about who he would like to see the team face in the playoffs.
“We have had to play all the top teams in the league away and it looks like our playoff match will be away as well with the ways things are working out for us.”
“We think Kilmacud will win their matches leaving them and St Marks ahead of us. Whoever we get we will be competitive. We’d be confident enough that, on our day, we would beat anyone,” said McDonagh.

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