PACKIE Barnwell says that form will count for very little as the epic saga between Fingallians and Na Fianna reaches its zenith this Friday evening at 8.30pm in Parnell Park in the Dublin ladies football senior championship final.
Fins won the league title earlier in 2013 while their Glasnevin opponents took the cup crown but their final encounter of four meetings this year is certainly set to be the one which defines their memories of this season.
Barnwell’s Fingallians team won their other championship tie in dramatic style against Na Fianna, running up three goals in quick succession before holding on for a 3-10 to 0-14 victory.
But the manager says that his side cannot draw any conclusions from that date in the group stages.
“To be honest, the goals won the game. We got three goals in 15 minutes; they got more scores than us but we won the match. Thankfully we were then lucky enough to hang on. The forwards are firing well and are quite efficient. If we get a few chances, hopefully it will continue and we can put them in the back of the net.
“But form goes out the window. We have got a couple of wins over them but there was only a kick of a ball in it each time. We have to get a good start and hopefully everything goes our way because they are a huge side. They won the championship two years ago and have that experience.”
His side will be without full-back Catherine Keaney and Denise McKenna who are long-term injury victims but are otherwise at full strength.
And while the Swords club have never won the Dublin championship, their experience of two years ago will certainly be of benefit when making the trip into town.
“We got to the final three years ago. It will definitely stand to the girls; most of them are still playing and so they will be over the whole ‘experience’ aspect of playing in Parnell Park and driving on from that.”
He is particularly wary of inside forwards Orla Egan and Laura Walsh who provide the vast majority of the scoring threat while Irish international rugby star and Donegal intercounty player Norah Stapleton is another big name player.
But Barnwell has had time in the past fortnight to hone his panel and is looking forward to facing the challenge with no distractions.
“It’s unfortunate Dublin were beaten, but having all the Dublin girls back for training – senior and minor – is a big boost. We have been lucky to have everyone back but Na Fianna have had the same so it’s no huge advantage.”