North Antrim rivals meet today in the McNamee final

Danske Bank MacNamee Cup final

Cross and Passion Ballycastle v St Killian’s Garron Tower

ST KILLIAN’S have a good recent record in this Danske Bank MacNamee Cup. Today at 3-30 they are appearing in their fifth successive final and going for three-in-row while opponents Cross and Passion Ballycastle have to back to 2013 for their last title which came at the expense of their neighbours down the coast.

Just two of last year’s starting team remain for St Killian’s, midfielder Calum McIlwaine and forward Charlie McAuley, but the team are going into the decider undefeated, although they were pressed hard by St Mary’s CBGS Belfast in last week’s semi-final.

A half-time swop of Daire Higgins and Oran McCambridge however seemed to energise both players and they scored 2-3 between them to guide the Tower to a 4-6 to 2-4 victory.

Apart from Higgins and McCambridge, John Scullion, Fintan McKillop and midfielders Callum McIlwaine and Callagh Mooney all turned in impressive performances for the holders.

Cross and Passion didn’t get their semi-final played until Monday – but they totally wiped out St Patrick’s Maghera in a one sided affair in Ballymena.

Full-forward Callum Cane was almost un-markable while the half forward line of Aidan Richmond, Conor Donnelly and Ronan Fitzgerald caused all sorts of problems for the Maghera back-line.

Indeed the Ballycastle team as a unit was physically imposing particularly down the centre with Daragh Donnelly, Roan McGarry and Niall McClean.

On the club front Loughgiel full-back Liam Glackin is a dominant figure, but such has been the one-sided nature of all CPC’s games little has been seen of him.

The teams did meet in the Thomson Cup final last June when St Killian’s came through on a 2-4 to 1-1 score-line. That competition was played in a blitz format. Perhaps over the course of a full game, Ballycastle will be able to impose their greater physical presence.

Both teams know each other very well and I would expected every ball to be a full-blooded challenge. St Killian’s come into the game as favourites, but there is not a lot between them and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Ballycastle took the title.

Cross and Passion : A Mullan, A Hughes, L Glackin, C Boylan, C Baudant, D Donnelly, A Kelly, R McGarry, N McClean, A Richmond, C Donnelly, R Fitzgerald, D O’Mullan, C Cane, K Agoha 

Subs : R McShane, C Crawford, O McCallin, O Coyles, C McGarry, T McNally, C Lynn

St Killian’s : J McKay, J Kearney, J Scullion, O McClintock, A Campbell, F McKillop, C Ward, C McIlwaine, C Mooney, D Douthart, O McCambridge, C McAuley, T McLaughlin, D Higgins, C McNaughton

Subs : A McCambridge, O McKeown, E Robbin, R McAuley, C McIntosh, O Gillan, A McAlister, N Rodgers, N McLaughlin, C McCann, C McLoughlin

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