Kilbeggan Shamrocks player profiles: Westmeath JFC final
Kilbeggan Shamrocks take on St Loman’s, Mullingar in the Clarke’s Bar Westmeath Junior 1 Football Championship final at TEG Cusack Park on Saturday (throw-in 2.30pm).
As the Kilbeggan men strive to bring the Hugh Daniels Cup back to the banks of the Brosna for the first time since 2018, here are player profiles of the squad.
Joey O’Neill, Barman/Business Studies Student at DCU (20): With Shane Keenan ruled out for the season with a cruciate ligament injury, Joey has made the goalkeeping position his own and has also gotten on the scoreboard a few times from ‘45s. Joey is an exciting prospect who is also comfortable playing outfield.
Aidan Stone, Defender, Student (22): A commanding presence at centre back, Aidan has won both the Young Player of the Year and Player of the Year accolades in the club. He has also captured North Leinster and Leinster Schools Championship medals with Mercy Secondary School.
Conor Carroll, Defender/Midfielder, Electrician (22): Conor is a classy operator who has played in both defence and midfield this year. He popped up with two vital points in the semi-final and is another with a big future ahead of him. He’s also the holder of North Leinster and Leinster Schools Championship medals.
Martin Ward, Defender, Electrician (23): A JFC and Division 6 medallist in 2018 and ’22 respectively, Martin has nailed down one of the corner back berths this season and was outstanding in our group match against St Joseph’s. The tougher the going, the better he plays.
Sean Hanlon, Defender, Plumber/Pipe-fitter (25): Sean is our other regular corner back who has excelled since recovering from a cruciate ligament injury – the same injury that has sidelined his younger brother James this season. He previously played in attack and was man of the match as far back as the 2016 JFC semi-final against Multyfarnham.
Darragh Coffey, Midfielder, Teacher in Mercy Secondary School (22): Darragh made a massive contribution to the semi-final win over Ballycomoyle, turning the midfield battle when he came off the bench. He is a strong and athletic player who is looking to add to the JFC and Division 6 League medals he won in 2018 and ’22 respectively.
Micheál Coffey, Defender, Trainee Teacher in UL (20): Younger brother of Darragh, Micheál started out as a forward a couple of seasons ago before establishing himself in the half back line this year. Got his first taste of success last year when we won Division 6.
James Fox, Defender, Teacher in St Joseph's, Rochfortbridge (26): Our captain and full back is looking forward to playing in his third JFC final after recovering from a foot injury that forced him to miss the early part of the season. A son of club stalwart Donal, James was part of the Kilbeggan/St Joseph's team that won a Leinster U14 Feile title in 2011 and has represented his county in all the underage grades. James has also won several hurling honours with Castletown-Geoghegan, and a JFC medal with Kilbeggan in 2018.
Brendan McMahon, Midfielder, Trainee Actuary (26): Like James, Brendan is a former county minor who won a Leinster U14 Feile medal in 2011 as well as All-Ireland Feile, U14 and U16HC medals with Castletown-Geoghegan and a JFC with Kilbeggan in 2018. A wholehearted player, he has played in nearly every position, including goals, but looks to have finally found his home in the middle of the field.
Mel Kiernan, Defender, Accountant (36): Mel is a versatile player who is also club treasurer. When we beat Mullingar Shamrocks in the 2012 JFC final, he started at corner forward, but is now more accustomed to playing in defence. His father Philip is a former Longford midfielder who won an IFC medal with the club in 2000. Mel is seeking his third JFC title on Saturday.
Shaun Pidgeon, Forward, Accountant (37): Captain when we triumphed in 2012 and ‘18, Shaunie is still going strong on the ‘40’. A role model to the younger players, he’s a natural leader who lifts the team with his never-say-die attitude and trademark runs at the opposing defence. Also the holder of MFC 'B' and Leinster Schools medals, he is the epitome of a great clubman.
Conor Delaney, Forward, Clerical Officer (34): One of the standout performers in this year’s JFC, Conor has been a revelation since transferring from Stradbally a few years ago. He got us out of trouble with late scores in the group games against Bunbrosna and St Joseph’s, and is usually our leading marksman. Conor won a Leinster MFC with Laois as well as Laois SFC, MFC and Division 1 League medals with Stradbally along with a Division 6 League with his adopted club last year.
Colin Draper, Defender, Teacher (34): The former Rose of Tralee escort has blossomed into one of our star performers in defence. A committee member and sports all-rounder, he won a JFC medal in 2018 and a Towns Cup medal with Tullamore RFC.
Nigel Scally, Midfielder/Forward, Farmer and Agronomist (27): The baby of the 2012 winning panel along with Mark Heffernan, Nigel became our talisman before sustaining a cruciate ligament injury last year. He made his first start of the season in the semi-final and really came into his own in extra-time, which is testament to his fitness. Nigel was on the Westmeath senior panel in 2018 and ’19, and is the holder of two JFC medals.
Paul Fennell, Forward, Scaffolder (30): Paul is an extremely talented player who was part of our 2012 and ’18 winning teams. Also a MFC medallist with Ennell Shamrocks in 2010, he has won numerous hurling honours with Castletown-Geoghegan, including a SHC medal in 2013, and has hurled with the county at every level.
David Fennell, Forward, Scaffolder (30): David came off the bench to score four points from play in the semi-final and is coming into form at just the right time. His career has mirrored that of twin brother Paul, having won the same honours in football, hurling and rugby, and also hurled for his county at all levels.
Alan Fennell, Defender, Corporate Security Manager with Vodafone (40): The oldest of the Fennell brothers boasts a wealth of experience going back to 2001 when he made his debut in the senior championship. Now in the twilight of his career, Alan has been used mostly as an impact sub this year. The former county panellist can count U16 ('premier' and 'A'), minor 'premier', JFC (2012 and ’18) and U21 Hastings Cup medals among his list of honours.
Cathal Finn, Forward, Student (22): Cathal is an accurate forward who has come up with some important scores this year. Always good for a goal, he won North Leinster and Leinster ‘C’ football medals with Mercy Secondary School and a Division 6 League medal with the club last year. His father Nicky was our groundsman for over a decade and is a match steward at both Glenisk O’Connor Park and TEG Cusack Park.
Danny Scully, Forward, Student (21): Danny is a lively wing forward who kicked three points in the semi-final. Like Cathal, he has won Leinster ‘C’ football medals with Mercy Secondary School and a Division 6 League medal with the club last year.
James Finnegan, Forward, HSE Pharmacy Technician (26): James is a nippy and accurate corner forward who scored the crucial goal in extra-time against Ballycomoyle the last day. He has played U14 and U16 for Westmeath and was a key member of the Kilbeggan/St Joseph's Leinster U14 Feile winning team 12 years ago.
Niall Carey, Midfield, Rugbytots Coach (23): Niall has developed into a very important player since first coming on the scene in 2018. He went straight back into the midfield in the quarter-final against Athlone after his summer travels and wouldn’t look out of place in Aussie Rules with his spectacular high fielding. JFC and Division 6 medals.
Dean Fitzgerald, Midfielder/Forward, Data Input and Processing Administrator (27): Dean is a tall, elegant footballer who has made a timely return from injury to feature as a substitute in recent games.
Mark Wrafter, Defender, Civil Engineering student at ATU Sligo (21): One of our best young defenders and a Westmeath minor in 2019, Mark is another player on his way back from a long-term injury who could make an appearance on Saturday.
Leon Carberry, Goalkeeper, Stone Mason (40): Another outstanding clubman who won several medals at underage level and also played minor for the county. Leon is sub-goalkeeper this year.
Shane Gorry, Forward, Electrician (26): Looking forward to his third JFC final, Shane played some of his best-ever football in the League this year and is a great servant to the club.
Finbar Coffey, Forward, Car Sales Manager with Lambe Brothers (38): A JFC medallist in 2012 and ‘18, Finbar is a long-serving player who is also involved in underage coaching in the club.
Mark Sonner, Forward, Civil Servant (44): Mark has been a super addition to the club since joining from Stewartstown Harps a few years back. His list of honours includes Tyrone IFC (2006), JFC (2005), and Division 3 League (2010), Ulster club JFC (2004) and All-Ireland Junior 7s (2005).
Jack Mullins, Forward, Student (18): Jack made his adult championship debut this year. Like his younger brother and up-and-coming goalkeeper Conor, he is an accomplished Pitch & Putt player and golfer, winning the 2018 All-Ireland U16 Pitch & Putt Strokeplay and the 2019 Irish Boys Inter Club National as part of the victorious Tullamore Golf Club team.
Rest of panel: Eoin Dixon, Arthur O’Rourke, Kyle McMahon, Michael Joyce, Conor Mullins, Niall Rabbitte.
Management: Niall O’Brien (manager), Kevin Smith (coach/selector), Willie Daniels (coach/selector), Dermot Smith (coach/selector), James Mullins (logistics), Brendan Nannery (strength and conditioning coach), Rob Connor (physio).