Sheriff YC and Liffey Wanderers played out an entertaining Tom Hand Memorial Trophy decider on Sunday afternoon.
Sheriff won by the odd goal in three. The FAI Intermediate versus FAI Junior decider got us thinking and we picked out what we thought were five talking points for the clash.
Take a look below:
Sheriff are Intermediate level
In fairness there are those who have been arguing for years that Sheriff are as good if not better than any Intermediate side in Ireland.
It’s one of those arguments that can never be settled via debate- the proof can only be found in the pudding.
Games like Sunday’s are the only real chance Alan Reilly’s men get to show just how capable they are at Intermediate level.
Granted Sunday’s win wasn’t over a top table Intermediate side, but Liffey Wanderers are FAI Intermediate Champions and Sheriff did defeat a more noted name in the competition last season in Crumlin United.
There can now be no doubt that this Junior team, one of the best ever to play at the level, is Intermediate capable.
The new argument now is could they win Senior Sunday and be consistent enough to top a division that is packed from top to bottom with sides that can beat any opposition on a given day?
Sheriff YC are not just about star names
Nigh on every player that wears the green and white of Sheriff is guaranteed a sprinkling of amateur football stardust, but on Sunday they managed to win without some of their more ‘famous’ names.
Over the last five years or so John Rock, John Lester and Darren Dunne have come in for considerable footballing praise.
They have effectively been the spine of the sensationally successful side in recent years, but without all three for differing reasons not to mention the likes of Chris Higgins, Thomas Dunne, Anto Kavanagh, Gavin McDermott and so on, Sheriff still managed to produce.
Even more impressively they looked as assured as ever and Liffey Wanderers found it hard to find a weakness.
Alan Reilly hasn’t made a host of new signings, rather he promoted from the B team and Wayne Waldron, Lee Featherson, Leon Hayes and so fort all seemed to fit seamlessly into the side.
If all the aforementioned ‘stars’ are to return over the coming weeks it now appears Sheriff have a wider degree of options and won’t have to sign a fresh load of talent to freshen up a somewhat ageing squad. Possibly even more appealing to the coaching staff is the fact they also have the choice of players to field more than one formation and thus employ more than one tactical approach.
There are hidden gems out there
When Niku Kalandarishvili tuned up unannounced in Irish town with a pair of boots the Liffey Wanderers squad and coaching staff had no clue what to expect.
Kalandarishvili wasn’t a player they or any in the grass roots family were that aware of, yet within a matter of weeks he has become one of a talented squads more eye catching players, in turn proving there are hidden gems out there.
The winger has stood out in the Tommy Clements Cup both scoring and creating goals. He and his team mates stepped it up a level on Sunday as they took on Sheriff in the Tom Hand Memorial Trophy and Kalandarishvili showed enough to suggest he could be a go to player for John Youngs charges.
The tricky wide man was as dominant as he has been in pre season ties, but that was to understandable as Wanderers took on serial winners Sheriff.
However, he did manage to find the back of the net in style and showed enough to suggest he could be one to watch out for in LSL Senior 1 next term.
LSL Senior 1 could be on of the divisions to watch out for next season
A bold statement to make on the back of one game, not to mention a game that has very little to do with the LSL second tier next season.
However, if this is the level of one of the promoted sides then things bode well for fans of the LSL second tier next term.
Liffey’s come into a talent packed league and will be looking to make it five promotions on the bounce. No doubt they will find it hard to secure a top three place with so many top sides vying for top flight status, but they managed to perform admirable against Sheriff despite fielding a side that missed a few key figures.
Senior 1 already boasts the likes of Tolka Rovers, Wayside Celtic, UCD, Dublin Bus, Glebe North and Glenville next term throw in a progressive Ballymun United, Tullamore Town and the reigning FAI Intermediate Cup champions and you have a very competitive and potentially exciting division.
Sheriff are the saving grace of the AUL
The AUL has proven one of the more successful leagues in recent years.
It was the starting place for sides such as Cherry Orchard, Ballymun United, Killester and so many more.
However, in the last few seasons the much loved Dublin league has experienced problems. A whole host of clubs have left for pastures new.
A host of big names and even less established clubs have felt the LSL provides them with a better future, but the AUL still have Sheriff.
The league can still boast to having the best Junior side in the land and claim as Tom Hand victory further proves they have a side Intermediate capabilities in their ranks.
Furthermore that side has believes the AUL is to the place to be and is a set up that suits them. It’s the AUL’s best marketing tool. Good enough for Sheriff good enough for any side!
While its not theirs primarily to celebrate the AUL have benefited from Sheriff’s success and the publicity it bring. Indeed they will continue to do so if Alan Reilly’s men continue to win major honours.