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Red letter day awaits Rosemount

Story by Kevin O'Neill

Friday, 25th November, 2016 12:05pm

Red letter day awaits Rosemount

Rosemount captain Enda Boland lifting the Peter Geraghty Cup in October.

THIS coming Saturday promises to be a red-letter day in the proud 92-year history of Rosemount GAA club, as the black and amber men prepare to flock towards Pairc Tailteann, Navan for the club's first ever Leinster Club IFC final against St Colmcille's (2pm).

The Westmeath intermediate champions, who defeated Tubberclair in this year's county decider, have since gone on an impressive run at provincial level, leaving Cappincur (Offaly) and Fingallians (Dublin) in their wake en route to the final.

And this weekend sees the club facing Meath opposition in the decider, which was also the case when Rosemount reached the Leinster JFC final in 2007, when a Clann na nGael team featuring Graham Geraghty got the better of them.

Indeed, it's a well-known fact that Westmeath teams have not fared at all well against Royal County opponents over the years, with Athlone also coming a cropper against Meath opposition (Ratoath) in last year's Leinster IFC final.

But none of that – or the county team's historic struggles against Meath – seem to be bothering what is a very young and exciting group of Rosemount players, led by the team captain Enda Boland, whose father, Colm is the club chairman.

Enda said that the team – led by manager Gerry Hickey – is in high spirits ahead of what should be a cracking occasion for the entire Rosemount community on Saturday.

“Of course everyone knows the history between Westmeath and Meath teams, but we're not concerned about that at all. All year, we've taken it one game at a time and this is just another 60 minutes of football to look forward to,” Enda said.

“After winning the county title, and having come so close to doing so in the previous couple of years, everything else has just been a massive bonus for us. To be representing the club and the county in a Leinster final is a big deal for us, as players, and hopefully it will go well for us in a fantastic ground like Pairc Tailteann.”

Indeed, Rosemount's journey to the Leinster final has been several years in the making, with Westmeath IFC final and semi-final defeats in the last couple of years, to Caulry and Athlone respectively, making this year's triumph against Tubberclair all the sweeter.

Enda said: “Yeah, those defeats were absolutely horrible at the time. The Caulry one was our first time in the intermediate final, as a group, and we were possibly a bit immature, as a team. It took a while to get the defeat out of the system and then we came back the following year (2015) to lose the semi-final against Athlone.

“That game was just ridiculous and strange because we were nine points up at half-time and then failed to score at all in the second half, which just isn't like us.”

The brace of county championship disappointments (in 2014 and 2015) were experienced under the tutelage of manager Frankie Lynam, a bainisteoir who Boland said deserved huge credit for what the team has achieved this year.

“Frankie did a great job and we just couldn't get over the line. But he was a fine manager and has played a big part in where we've got to this year,” Boland said. “I suppose Gerry (Hickey) just came in this year and added a bit of freshness to the whole thing and we probably needed something different.

“Also, a few things went our way this year like injuries, which have been well looked after by our physio Triona Geoghegan, and we didn't have lads going away on J1s either, which we suffered a bit with in recent years.

“The panel stayed together, as a result, and I think the disappointment of the last two years made us a bit stronger, too, and definitely that bit more mature, as a team.

“Obviously, we were also fortunate to transfer in a really good player in Israel (Ilunga) and he's helped the team a lot. So, when all those things come together, these type of runs, at county and provincial level, can be possible.”

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