AIB GAA Leinster Club Senior Football Championship Final – Video preview
Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin) v Rhode (Offaly) O’Moore Park, Portlaoise Sunday, 2pm
The GAA’s Leinster Council, and the clubs involved, will be hoping that it will prove to be third time lucky on Sunday.
Twice already the provincial senior football final has been postponed due to the Arctic conditions prevailing before Christmas, but with the near tropical January temperatures compared to the pre festive weather the game is set to go ahead this weekend.
It has been a long and difficult season for Crokes, as long-term injuries to key players like Mark Davoren, Paul Griffin and Darren Magee have hampered them, but they have shown plenty resilience to reach this stage.
Against Westmeath’s Garrycastle in the semi-final, the Dublin champions were two points down at half-time but eventually prevailed by three. Being able to call on attackers of the class of Brian Kavanagh and Mark Vaughan is a bonus for them, while Adrian Morrissey, who would have missed the game had it gone ahead when initially schedule due to suspension, is again available.
Niall McNamee is the go-to guy for Rhode, as he showed with a goal against Meath champions Skryne in the semi-final, while veteran sub Roy Malone crafted another green flag with a piece of pure genius.
Aidan Tuite and Paddy O’Rourke are important players in midfield for Rhode and will present a big challenge for Craig Dias and Paddy Duggan, but how well the Rhode defence does could be key.
The last time the two sides played competitively was at the same stage just over two years ago, when goals by Kavanagh and Davoren gave Crokes a 2-7 to 1-7 victory at Parnell Park as they claimed a third provincial title.
On that occasion, however, the Dublin club had to come from five points, and a man, down after the first quarter before managing to recover, eventually going all the way to All-Ireland glory. They will be hoping that things will be more straightforward on this occasion, but Rhode will have other ideas.