Madden vs Pearse Ogs Preview

After a hugely entertaining opening round of championship action, one teams victory stood out above the rest.

Sure, Clann Eireann beating Granemore may have raised a few eyebrows, and Grange’s ability to drag Killeavy to extra time may have surprised a some.

But it was Madden’s dismissal of two-time county finalists (2018 and 2019) Ballymacnab that was the most eye-catching.

And they were full value for their victory. All over they field they played with great intensity and confidence.

Niall Grimley’s battle in centre-field with Rory Grugan was magnificent, and Grimley will play another huge role for his side this evening.

Joe Sheridan has pace to burn while Niall Smith has an outstanding ability to ghost in behind defences and set up the play.

If ever Madden are going to reach the last four of the Senior Championship, today is the day and they will have full confidence of doing so.

They let the chance slip through their grasps last season when Granemore hit three late points to sneak through by the minimum.

Madden face a Shane McConville inspired Pearse Ogs side that will refuse to lie down and also have dreams of claiming a semi-final spot.

The Ogs haven’t reached the latter rounds of the competition since 2012 and will see this as a huge opportunity to get back to that stage.

The big question mark is what to do with Niall Grimley. He has to be man-mark, no doubt about it.

Does Chris Rafferty have the speed? Does Vincy Brady have the strength? Will they sacrifice Anto Duffy from his edge-of-the-square duties?

Duffy was a handful at full forward in last weekends win over Cullyhanna and should he switch positions, it leaves James Freeman and Conor Clarke the leaders in attack.

Freeman showed his class with three points on the trot and he will have been ear-marked by Mickey Grimley and his men.

Paul Duffy is of course still an influential character in the green and gold and they will look to him when times are tough.

Madden had great success pressing hard on the Ballymacnab kickouts last week and will hope to have the same joy this evening.

But they face a different proposition. Ryan Kearney is one of the finest keepers in the county and he looks to get the ball away short and fast.

They scored 1-4 off the Ballymacnab kickouts, while registering 1-6 off their own, 2-10 of their tally coming off kickouts.

Thanks to BMAC Performance Analysis for providing the stats and graphs!

This could prove to be a real tactical affair with both teams retreating into their defence before breaking forward at almighty pace.

Turnovers will be crucial as they are the oxygen that keep both teams moving. Discipline in the tackle will also be important as both sides lay claim to reliable free-takes.

The biggest issue for the Raparees will be replicating the intensity we saw seven days ago. They were hugely up for the Ballymacnab test, but can they raise their game once more?

Time will tell. If Madden can reach that same levels of intensity and aggression, then Mickey Grimley’s side look best placed to reach the last four.

Prediction: Madden

Liston to our preview of today’s game!!