Its a Football Weekend this Weekend and it would be very remiss of us if We didnt put out a Big Ball Power Rankings also.
Big John from Premierview has crunched the numbers ,checked the pulses and looked lads in the eyes to developed the Football Algorithm and this is the result.
16: Moycarkey-Borris. Everyone’s favourite to go down every year but they have always managed to pull one big performance out of the bag to survive. This year might be different through as they did not employ Eddie Brennan to take them football training and their lack of ball work in a group with Loughmore-Castleiney, Ardfinnan and Ballina will probably count against them.
15: Cahir. Despite having a few good underage teams a few years ago they don’t seem to have kicked on to Senior. In a group with Upperchurch, Killenaule and Arravale Rovers they will feel they have a chance and while I have them as No 15 in the power-rankings, that is only because somebody had to be No 15 and in truth there is not a lot between any of the teams from 10 to 16.
14: Drom-Inch.The Norwich City of Tipperary Football as ever second year they seem to be in a promotion or relegation battle. Capable on their day but hurling is No 1 in the club so they will have little or nothing done in terms of football. With talented players you might get away with that Intermediate level but you get found out at Senior. If they go deep into the hurling championship then their football results will suffer.
13: Eire Og Annacarty.The great survivors and most peoples favourite to go down last year but yet again they survived and they may just do it again this year even with three teams to go down. Their game v Drom-Inch will be vital but I expect them to get over it and that and while it would be a big ask for them to reach a quarter-final, I do expect them to finish third in the group which would be enough to see them out of the relegation battle.
12: Killenaule. Capable of being much higher than Twelfth in the power rankings but some years they are only on nodding terms with football. With three teams to go down this year, Killenaule will have to be careful but in truth I’m not expecting anything as dramatic as relegation that to happen them.
11: Ballyporeen: Word on the field is that Ballyporeen are concentrating more hurling and if this is true then without the services of Conor Sweeney this year, it seems a dangerous ploy to abandon their traditional football roots. Being in a group with Moyle Rovers, Rockwell Rovers and JK Brackens isn’t going to help their mood but when it comes to the crunch, they should have enough talent in their team to be competitive.
10: Arravale Rovers: A Club with a tremendous football tradition who have had a number of good underage teams in recent years. Last year with Niall Fitzgerald in charge they were well organised defensively but struggled with the transition from back to front. If they can improve on this area they are well capable of taking a scalp or two along the way.
9: Ardfinnan: Quarter Finalists for the past two years, Ardinnan have been extremely unlucky not to progress further on at least one occasion. No doubt they will leave no pebble unturned in their efforts this year. A lovely team to watch in possession, if they are to progress this year they will need to improve their turnover count especially in the middle third as they have struggled when teams run at them. If they can do that and with players like Colm O’Shaughnessy, Gavin Whelan, Michael Barlow and Billy Hewett in their ranks, then they are capable of competing with any team.
8: Rockwell Rovers. A welcome addition to senior football over the past few years where they have more than held their own. They are in a tough group this year with Moyle Rovers, JK Brackens and Ballyporeen but it wouldn’t be the biggest shock in the world if they were to take a scalp and qualify out the group.
7: Kilsheelan-Kilcash. On paper Kilsheelan-Kilcash have as good a team as any and it’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that if they can keep everyone fit they can be rightly considered legitimate contenders for County honours. But almost annually they seem to get marquee players injured at key moments in the championship. It’s getting a stage now where it’s go or get off the pot time for them because with players like Evan Comerford, Daire Brennan, Mark Stokes, Paul Maher (if fit) and Mark and Barry Kehoe in their team, they have the talent to make their presence felt against any team.
6: Ballina: When the Premier Pod boys asked me to do this they sent me their own power rankings and they had Ballina at No 16. I couldn’t disagree more and I am tipping Ballina to be the surprise package in this year’s championship. Deciding between Ballina and Ardfinnan for a quarter final spot is no easy task but I’ve opted for Ballina in the end. Steven O’Brien will most likely miss the early stages of the championship and is an obvious loss but with players like Teddy Doyle, Eoghan Power, James Hanley and Michael Breen playing under the guidance of Kevin Byrne and John Maughan last year’s Intermediate champions are well capable of making their presence felt.
5: J.K. Brackens: JKB’s chances this year could well depend on getting players back from Injury. Paddy Cadell and Eanna McBride are the two players who make Bracken’s tick and both were absent in the hurling defeat to Mullinahone last Sunday. If these two were fully fit, I would be tempted to put JKB into second or third place in the power-rankings but with doubts over their participation in the early stages of the championship, I’ve slotted JKB into 5th although I expect them to get stronger as the year goes on. Tom Murphy, Jordan Moloney and Neil Quinlan provide style and substance but it’s at full forward where the magic happens. Jack Kennedy has been the best forward in Tipperary for two years now. If Brackens can move away from their counter-attacking style and offer him more support he will be even better and with Kevin Mulryan taking the reins I expect to see a more offensively minded JKB this year.
4: Moyle Rovers: Rovers are becoming like Forrest Gumps box of chocolates….you just never know what you’re going to get. Most teams have good days and indifferent days. Rovers deal in a dicier market. They are either brilliant or poor…and sometimes in the same game. Rian Quigley is on his travels and an obvious loss but if Stephen Quirke and Luke Boland can bring their county form back to club level, then Moyle Rovers could be a dangerous animal. As always consistency of performance will be the key to Moyle Rovers chances but if they can get that then the sky is the limit for them.
3: Upperchurch-Drombane: I was stupid enough to dismiss their chances last year because I believed they wouldn’t have enough football played. I was reminded of it once or twice as they progressed to the County Final so I’m not going to make the same mistake this year. People talk about their hard work and commitment and of course they have both in abundance but they also have some wonderful footballers. Paul and Luke Shanahan are the star turns in the forward line while personally I’ve always admired the way Jack Butler goes about his business. They may or may not repeat their hurling achievements of last year by getting to a semi-final but I think they will definitely get to a semi-final in football and once there nobody will want to meet them. With Pat Shorrt and Mickey O’Sullivan on their management team, they won’t be found wanting on the line.
2: Loughmore-Castleiney: A close call for second spot in the power-rankings between Loughmore-Castleiney and their Mid Tipperary neighbours Upperchurch-Drombane. I’ve went with Loughmore-Castleiney purely on the basis of tradition and of course it is always foolhardy to rank them any lower. They will need to be on their toes early this year in what could be a potentially tricky group with Ardfinnan and Ballina but they should negotiate those hurdles and in a way those tricky games early on might help them later in the year. With Liam and John McGrath up front they have the fire power to once more progress deep into the championship any maybe even all the way.
1: Clonmel Commercials: You don’t have to be related to Old Moore to know that Commercials will be strong favourites to retain their county title. Their team is littered with pub-hold names so there is little point in going through them but a young man to keep an eye out for this year is Cian Smith.