St. Gall’s ruled Ulster in 2009

Ulster SFC Club final 2009

St. Gall’s 0-16 Loup 0-5

St Gall’s showed their All-Ireland credentials as they hammered Loup by 11 points in Sunday’s AIB Ulster Club Football final at Pairc Esler.

Loup led 0-2 to 0-1 early on and were level at 0-4 to 0-4 with favourites Gall’s but the Belfast side moved into a 0-8 to 0-4 lead by half-time.

Gall’s completely dominated the second half with CJ McGourty bringing his tally to six points by the finish.

Ciaran Devlin’s 52nd-minute point was Loup’s only second-half score.

Loup were hoping to repeat their surprise 2003 Ulster final triumph over the Belfast side but they were outclassed on this occasion.

St Gall’s opened the scoring after only 12 seconds with Kevin Niblock slotting the point after Sean Burke had won possession at the throw-in.

As Gall’s continued their fast start, they appeared to be denied a stonewall penalty when Niblock was hauled down by Loup goalkeeper Shane McGuckin.

However, Pat McEnaney waved away St Gall’s protests and Loup compounded the Antrim champions’ frustration at the other end as Paul McVey pointed a fine free.

As Gall’s players continued to protest about McEnaney’s decision not to award the spot-kick, Loup then edged ahead as Johnny McBride pointed another free for the Derry champions.

However, Gall’s midfielder Aodhan Gallagher channelled his frustration in the correct manner by storming upfield to slot a superb individual score.

Quick Gall’s ball yielded a further free for CJ McGourty in the 11th minute after Loup’s Sean Michael O’Neill was booked for a high challenge on Mark Kelly.

Loup were proving resilient and a Paul McFlynn free brought the sides level two minutes later but CJ McGourty’s second point put Gall’s ahead within 60 seconds.

However, Loup were displaying all their renowned doggedness as Paul McVey brought the sides level again after McEnaney had annoyed Gall’s again by over-ruling a line-ball award for the Belfast club.

 

CJ McGourty restored Gall’s lead in the 24th minute with a classy score from play and there was finally some daylight between the teams when Rory Gallagher was content to take his point when he had a sniff of a goal chance.

The lead then became three in the 28th minute when the superb McGourty scored his fourth point of the day as Gall’s finally began to translate their superiority on to the scoreboard.

Gall’s still had time to register another score before the break as centre half-forward Kevin McGourty released Sean Burke to slot over the bar, with the midfielder content to take his point instead of aiming low.

Loup needed quick scores after the break but instead CJ McGourty kicked another superb free won by the impressive Niblock.

St Gall’s lead looked impregnable at seven when Anthony Healy and Kieran McGourty knocked over further quickfire points for the Antrim champions.

It was all becoming a procession as Terry O’Neill slotted another score as Gall’s yet again won the ball in midfield from a McGuckin kick-out.

To their credit, Loup tried to rally as they went close to grabbing the potential lifeline of a goal on two occasions in as many minutes.

Firstly, Gall’s goalkeeper Ronan Gallagher dropped a Paul McFlynn free before the ball was cleared but the custodian redeemed himself seconds later as he saved a close-range effort with an out-stretched foot after another McFlynn free had pin-balled around the small square.

Loup’s frustrations were only increased when Gall’s strode downfield to notch a further score from Niblock and CJ McGourty’s free then extended the advantage to a whopping 10 points.

Ciaran Devlin’s 52nd-minute point was Loup’s first score in 31 minutes which told its own story of St Gall’s superiority.

Rory Gallagher restored Gall’s 10-point margin four minutes from time and winning manager Lenny Harbinson was then able to give substitute Darren O’Hare some late action with Kevin McGourty withdrawn.

Another sub Sean Burns tagged on another Gall’s point as Harbinson continued to empty his bench.

The win sets up an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with Connacht champions Corofin in February and on this evidence, it will take a very good team to beat St Gall’s in the spring.


St Gall’s collect 5th title in a row

DOWN MEMORY LANE

October 31st 2005 Antrim SFC final

ST GALL’S 0-11 PORTGLENONE 0-8

 
St Gall’s completed a five-in-a-row of titles with an 0-11 to 0-8 victory over Portglenone in Sunday’s final at Casement Park to qualify for next Sunday’s Ulster Championship clash with Carrickmore but victory was achieved at a cost after captain Sean Kelly was injured to leave him a doubt for that game . This victory was secured at a time when St. Gall’s were the dominant force in Antrim football and was their fifth win on the trot.

The Milltown side would go on to extend that winning sequence to eight in the years that followed. The Bann-siders were hit a heavy blow in the build up to their first final when star forward, Kevin Madden was ruled out and went into this game as underdogs.
A poor first half ended with St Gall’s 0-4 to 0-3 ahead, despite playing against a stiff end-to-end wind. Portglenone, in their first county final, levelled through a Gerard McAleese point just after the break but St Gall’s surged clear with Karl Stewart scoring four points to book a place against Carrickmore in the AIB Ulster Championship first round the following Sunday.
In the closing minutes, Portglenone put in a final surge with three late points but it was too late for any comeback as the Milltown Row side held on to possession as they ran down the clock. Tyrone champions Carrickmore beat Fermanagh side Teemore 2-8 to 0-5 the previous day to secure their place in the quarter-final clash at Casement Park. St Gall’s stand-in captain Mark McCrory said playing well against the wind was key to winning the game.
“On a day with a lot of wind we knew in the first half that we had to stop them getting a big lead,” the midfielder said. “We had the wind advantage in the second half and it definitely helped. “It is an unbelievable feeling – I was 29 when I won my first championship and to win five in a row after that is beyond my wildest dreams. “We know Carrickmore well from our two meetings last year so there will be no surprise packages” the St. Gall’s captain concluded.

SCORERS – St Gall’s: A Gallagher 0-1, S Burns 0-3 (2f), K Stewart 0-4 (1f), K McGourty 0-2, K Niblock 0-1. Portglenone: T Convery 0-2 (1f), M Graham 0-1, O Doherty 0-1, S McCallion 0-3f, G McAleese 0-1f.

ST GALL’S – P Murray; S Kennedy, A McLean, CD Brady; G McGirr, S Kelly, A Healey; M McCrory, A Gallagher (0-1) P Gribben, S Burns, T O’Neill; K Stewart, Kieran McGourty, Kevin McGourty. Subs: K Niblock for Gribben (58), C Smyth for Kelly (56), C Gallagher for Kieran McGourty (60), C Crossan for O’Neill (61).

PORTGLENONE – B McCann; J Kearney, D Hagan, P Carey; J McKeever, T Convery, S Doherty; J Storey, M McCarry; B McErlean, M Graham, O Doherty; S McCallion, R Mulholland, G McAleese. REF – P Mullan (St Paul’s)         .”

A ‘Close’ call as Cargin make it three in a row

Northern Switchgear

Antrim Senior Football Championship (final)

Erin’s Own Cargin 1-22 Kickham’s Creggan 1-19 (aet)

‘The old dog for the hard road’, is the old adage and it certainly rang true in the final of a thrill a minute Antrim senior football championship decider at Kelly Park today as  a 72nd minute goal from Kieran Close proved the turning point in an absorbing contest

The nimble 36 year old fired home from close range after being placed in the clear by Jimmy Gribbin to put a bit of daylight between the sides for the first time since the 7th minute.

Nothing had separated the near neighbours in an absorbing sixty minutes of football which thrilled the restricted attendance with the side’s level on six occasions.

A Tomas McCann point near the end of normal time looked to have ensured another title for the Toome men but Ruairi McCann replied at the other end to make it 0-16 to 0-16 and send the game into extra time.

Creggan led at the end of the first extra ten minutes as points from replacements, Paddy Coey and David Mc Guckin ensured a one point advantage but Mark Kelly and Jamie Gribbin combined to set up Kieran Close who finished to the net in style to put his side in the driving seat.

Further scores from Close, Pat Shivers, and Kevin ‘Kobo’ O’ Boyle saw Cargin move five in front but the Kickham’s replied with a late goal from replacement Odhran McLarnon to keep their fading hopes alive.

Michael McCann rose to collect the resultant kick out and send Kevin O’ Boyle on his way to raise white at the other end to ensure that there would be no way back for the gallant Creggan.

Keen rivals Erin’s Own Cargin and Kickham’s Creggan lined out in perfect conditions in the first ever senior championship final played at the splendid Kelly Park, Portglenone today.

The weather man had played his part to the full on this occasion and those in attendance were treated to one of the best finals in recent times.

Cargin, in search of a first ever ‘three in a row’ began in the manner of defending champions with an early score from Tomas McCann with only 30 seconds on the clock.

The same player went on to add a further three points in the opening six minutes to ensure a 0-04 to 0-00 advantage and his side threatened to run away with it at this stage.

Creggan in contrast were having difficulty in settling as the usually reliable Ruairi McCann missed a couple of opportunities to get his side’s opening score.

Slowly the challengers settled however and McCann got them on their way with a point in the 11th minute as he converted a 30 metre free and this score seemed to settle the Kickham’s.

Jamie McCann followed with back to back points in the 12th and 13th minutes and Creggan were on their way and further points from Conor Small and the resurgent Ruairi McCann saw them 0-05 to 0-04 ahead at the first water break.

Creggan were well on top at this stage and extended their lead to three with points from Tiernan Mc Ateer, and Conor McCann, their seventh point without reply. The corner forward’s strike was artistic in the extreme whilst the mid fielder followed a strong approach with an eye catching finish.

Cargin looked to have lost their way but they were back on track again when a James Laverty clearance and a heavy challenge on Jamie Gribbin allowed Pat Shivers to despatch the resultant free between the posts.

Gribbin then combined with Kevin McShane to open the way for Ciaran Bradley who raced away on the left before sending over.

The Erin’s Own men were now back on the ascendancy after a spell in the doldrums and a super Pat Shivers point was followed by another from Paul McCann.

Kevin Rice replied with a Creggan point to edge his side back ahead but another foul on the advancing Gribbin saw Pat Shivers level the contest again to ensure parity at the half way stage at 0-09 apiece.

Creggan were first to register at the start of the second half as replacement Matthew Rogers announced his arrival with a point but Michael McCann replied to level matters again before Brendan Laverty came forward to follow suit.

Cargin’s lead was short lived as Ruairi McCann raced forward to split the posts in the 36th minute and he followed suit from a free a couple of minutes later to edge his side ahead again.

It was end to end to end stuff as a Ciaran Bradley score brought the Toome side level once more before a slick combination involving the McCann’s, Paul Michael and Gerard opened the way for the former to edge his side 0-13 to 0-12 ahead at the end of the third quarter.

Creggan were back on terms once more through a Ruairi Mc Cann pointed free in the 46th minute and Jamie McCann followed with another to edge the Kickham’s ahead once more.

Cargin were soon back on terms again as Pat Shivers fired and then a foul on Kieran Close was duly punished when Tomas McCann deliver between the posts and the lead had changed hands once again as spectators from both sides roared their approval.

It looked anybody’s game as play continued to swing from end to end and Ruairi Mc Cann held his nerve to send between the posts to leave it 0-16 to 0-16 at the end of an absorbing sixty minutes to send the game into extra time.

It was the reigning champions who were first off the mark at the start of extra time as Tomas McCann raised an early white following a foul on the impressive Michael McCann but back came the challengers with back to back points from Ruairi McCann and substitute Paddy Coey to hit the front again.

A great Jamie Gribbin point ensured parity once more but a point from substitute David Mc Guckin ensured Creggan enjoyed a slender one point lead at the end of the first period of extra time.

The second half commenced in dramatic fashion as Mark Kelly sent Jamie Gribbin away on the left and he found Kieran Close Kieran Close who fired past Oisin Kerr to give his side a two point lead.

Gribbin was injured shortly after following a heavy challenge and forced to retire with Close following with a point to edge the champions three in front and when Pat Shivers followed with another they had opened up a four point gap.

Cargin were well on the way but Creggan kept battling on and were rewarded when Odhran McLarnon grabbed a late goal but time was against them and Kevin O’ Boyle responded with a late point to ensure there would be no way back for the gallant losers.

Cargin had completed a first ever three in a row and their 10th title in all while Creggan will have to wait another year as they attempt to put a long drought behind them but on the evidence of today that is not beyond them in the not too distant future.

Cargin captain Michael McCann who won his sixth senior championship medal in Sunday’s win over Creggan.

Cargin: John Mc Nabb, Kevin O’ Boyle (0-02), Justin Crozier, Brendan Laverty (0-01), David Johnston, James Laverty, Paul Mc Cann (0-01), Kevin Mc Shane, Michael Mc Cann (0-01), Ciaran Bradley (0-03), Pat Shivers (0-05), John Carron, Jamie Gribbin (0-01), Tomas Mc Cann (0-07), Enda Mc Grogan 

Subs

Gerard Mc Cann for E Mc Grogan

Marty Kane for D Johnston

Kieran Close (1-01) for J Carron

Sean og O’ Neill for

Mark Kelly for G Mc Cann

Michael Clarke for Kieran Close

Michael Magill for Jamie Gribbin

Creggan: Oisin Kerr, Aiden Maguire, Ricky Johnston, Eunan Mc Ateer, Sam Maguire, Martin Johnston, Jamie Mc Cann (0-03), Kevin Rice (0-01), Conor Mc Cann (0-01), Ruairi Mc Cann (0-07), Kevin Small, Fiontan Burke, Tiernan Mc Ateer (0-01), Conor Small (0-01), Conor Og McCann

Matthew Rogers (0-01) for F Burke

Liam Quinn for T Mc Ateer

Tommy Mc Cann for A Maguire

Paddy Cory (0-01) for S Maguire

David Mc Guckin (0-01) for K Small

Odhran Mc Larnon (1-00) for E Mc Ateer

Referee B Toland (Lamh Dhearg)

Cathal McOscar Photography

Close goal seals 3-in a row for Cargin

A summary of today’s SFC Final T Kelly Park, Portglenone. Afull report and photographs will appear on the site later tonight

Northern Switchgear Antrim Senior Football Final 

Cargin 1-22-1-19 Creggan (AET)

Kevin Herron reports from Kelly Park 

A goal from Kieran Close three minutes into the second period of extra-time sealed a 3rd successive Championship triumph for Cargin after they saw off neighbours Creggan 1-22-1-19 at Kelly Park this afternoon. 

The champions made a rip-roaring start and established a 0-04 lead inside of seven minutes. 

All coming courtesy of Tomas McCann, the lively full-forward hit the opener inside of 20 seconds from Pat Shivers pass, converted two frees and added an advanced mark. 

Ruairi McCann missed two early frees but was successful in getting his side off the mark at the third time of asking. 

Jamie and Conor McCann landed further scores and Conor Small levelled the scores on 16 minutes. 

Momentum was with the Staffordstown Road outfit as Tiernan McAteer hit back to back scores to edge his side ahead for the first time and a further score from Conor McCann was his side’s seventh on the trot to open up a 0-07-0-04 lead. 

Pat Shivers and Ruairi McCann traded points before Cargin levelled with three successive points through Ciaran Bradley and curling scores from Pat Shivers and Paul McCann. 

Kevin Rice and Shivers were on target before the break and in injury-time Ciaran Bradley was denied by a terrific Oisin Kerr save with the follow-up blasted wide as the sides were level 0-09 apiece.

 Creggan regained the lead early in the second half through substitute Fintan Burke but Cargin hit the front for the first time since the 7th minute through points from Mick McCann and Brendan Lavery. 

Ruairi McCann levelled with a fine point from play and then converted his second free of the game to give his side a 0-12-0-11 lead. 

The pendulum swung back in Cargin’s direction with successive Ciaran Bradley points although Ruairi McCann converted a straight forward free to level once more. 

Creggan opened up a two point advantage through a converted Jamie McCann free and McCann would land a second on the bounce after weaving away from Pat Shivers. 

Cargin spurned a second goal chance as Kerr denied Tomas McCann but Shivers floated over a point from the follow-up. 

Tomas McCann then drew the sides level with a free and 60-seconds later converted another to give the Champions a 0-16-0-15 lead in injury-time. 

There was to be late drama though as Creggan were afforded the opportunity pull level and Ruairi McCann dually took the chance as extra-time was required for the second year running. 

Extra-time: 

Cargin drew first blood in injury-time through another McCann free but Ruairi McCann landed the equaliser and substitute Paddy Coey edged his side ahead. 

They were dealt a blow however as Eunan McAteer was black carded for a trip and Jamie Gribbin landed an equaliser. 

But at the midway point it was 14-man Creggan who had their noses in front as David McGuckin popped over a late point to make it 0-19-0-18. 

The turning point in the game arrived three minutes into the second period as Jamie Gribbin picked out Kieran Close who shot low into the corner of the net. 

Close could have profited from a poor kick-out moments later but ended up grabbing a point and Kevin O’Boyle looked to have added the insurance point. 

But Creggan threw themselves a lifeline when Aidan McKeown shot through a crowded goalmouth to the net to put the game in the melting pot again at 1-21-1-19. 

O’Boyle would have the final say though and grabbed the games final score as Cargin held-on to win 1-22-1-19 at the end of an absorbing encounter. 

Can Creggan put 66 year wait behind them?

Northern Switchgear Antrim SFC Final preview

Erin’s Own Cargin (Holders) v Kickham’s Creggan

By Paddy McIlwaine

The meeting of Erin’s Own Cargin and Kickham’s Creggan in this Sunday’s Senior Football championship final brings together two side with vastly contrasting records in this competition. The rivalry between these neighbouring clubs is as keen as it is anywhere in the county or indeed in Ireland but their fortunes in recent years couldn’t be much different.

Erin’s Own Cargin are the reigning county champions and are going for three titles in a row while we have to go back to 1954 to find the last time that their parish neighbours lifted the Senior Football championship title.

Creggan’s Conor McCann and Cargin’s Michael McCann in action during the 2018 final

That was the last time the cup resided on the Staffordstown Road with their only other title coming back in 1943 so 66 years without success is a long time for a proud club who have been performing well in division 1 of the Antrim leagues and have knocked at the championship door for quite a while but as yet have failed to gain access.

Two years ago Creggan did reach the final and a meeting with Sunday’s opponents and many felt that the long wait for success was over but in a cagey, low scoring final it was Erin’s Own who emerged winners 0-5 to 0-4.

That was in 2018 and Cargin followed that success up with a win over Lamh Dhearg, after a replay in last year’s final and are aiming for a first ever three in a row for the club at Kelly Park on Sunday. The Toome side will start as firm favourites and have been the team to beat in recent years.

Cargin’s first championship success came back in 1974 but it was a further 21 years before they collected their second title in 1995 and their third four years later in 1999. They followed that success up with another win in 2000 but were not awarded that title until 2005 following an unseemly brawl at the end of that game against St. Paul’s.

2000 might have heralded a period of success for the Toome side but the fallout from that suspension coupled with the emergence of St. Gall’s as the dominant force in Antrim meant it would be another six years before Cargin would lift the Padraig McNamee Cup again.

Their win in 2006 interrupted a period of dominance for the Milltown side which lasted from 2001 to 2014 with St. Gall’s the team that the Toome side beat in that 2006 final. Cargin brought that winning run to an end again when they defeated Lamh Dhearg in the 2015 final and were winners again in 2016 when they beat St. Gall’s during a very successful period under the management of John Brennan.

Brennan was still at the helm when Cargin lost to St. John’s in the 2017 semi-final and defeat heralded his departure with former Derry All Ireland winner, Damian Cassidy taking over managerial duties for the 2018 campaign.

Cassidy led his side to success in 2018 and again in 2019 and this year will be hoping to guide them to an unprecedented three in a row but Creggan will be determined to put paid to that notion and will be quietly confident that they can do just that.

A look at the respective records of both sides would suggest that they go into Sunday’s final as rank outsiders however. Their championship success in 1943 and again in 1954 makes bleak reading compared to the record of Sunday’s opponents but records are made to be broken.

Former Antrim player, Kevin Madden held the managerial reigns at Creggan in a period that saw them lose that 2018 final but his side recorded an O’Cahan Cup victory over Cargin and won a league title in the same year.

Madden has moved on to become part of Micky Harte’s backroom team in Tyrone with his assistant Gerard McNulty taking over the managerial reigns at Creggan so there has been continuity at the club and that has been important.

The St. Enda’s man has tweaked the side but by in large has stuck to a well-tested formula and they have been impressive this year. Creggan finished top of a Group 1 that included south west rivals, Portglenone and Ahoghill. They defeated Portglenone at Sunday’s venue before losing to the same opponents on the Staffordstown Road but a big win in their final game away to Ahoghill ensured that they finished as group winners.

McNulty found himself in the unenviable position of planning a win over his own club, St. Enda’s in the quarter-final at Dunsilly but went about his task in his own professional manner with Creggan emerging fairly convincing winners over the former All Ireland Intermediate championship finalists.

That win set up a third meeting of the season with Casement’s Portglenone in the semi-final, the only team to have beaten them this year and they looked in trouble with the Bannsider’s holding a slender lead midway through the second half.

Good fortune favoured them however when Ruairi McCann’s free from 30 yards out dipped to the corner of the net and before the Casement’s could regroup, Conor Small raced through for a second goal with virtually his first touch of the ball and that was that.

Cargin finished their Group 3 campaign unbeaten and with maximum points. In a group that included St. Mary’s Aghagallon, St. Brigid’s and St. James’ Aldergrove they were seldom pushed though Aghagallon and St. Brigid’s both led for a period in Toome but were caught by a very efficient Cargin side.

O’Donovan Rossa were their opponents in the quarter-final in Ahoghill but the Jerimiah’s failed to test the reigning champions who ran out convincing winners to set up a semi-final meeting with old adversaries, Lamh Dhearg at Hightown.

Meetings between these two sides have been keenly contested affairs in recent years with Cargin needing a replay to beat the Hannastown side in the 2019 final and this one was little different. Lamh Dhearg set the early pace with Paddy Cunningham in fine form but a goal from the penalty spot from Tomas McCann settled the reigning champions.

They still trailed at half time but a strong second half performance and goals from youngsters, Ronan Gribbin and Pat Shivers saw them emerge 3-9 1-13 winners in a bad tempered second half that saw three players sent off.

Last year Pat Shivers was the star of the show in Cargin’s minor final win over Naomh Brid. This season he is an established member of the senior team.

WHO WILL PLAY?

Neither side are likely to show too many changes from the sides that lined out in their respective semi-finals. John McNabb started in goals against Lamh Dhearg and has been their regular number 1 for quite a number of years while Justin Crozier is a solid and reliable full-back with a flair for attacking if the opportunity arises.

Against Lamh Dhearg he was flanked by experienced pair, Kevin O’Boyle and Marty Kane to form a very experienced full-back line, all three former county players. Damian Cassidy has introduced a number of youngsters to his side this year with Ronan Gribbin staking a strong claim for a place in Sunday’s final with a goal against Lamh Dhearg from right-half-back while James Laverty and David Johnston could complete the half-back line.

Kevin McShane is a strong and combative mid-fielder where he was partnered recently by Michael McCann who remains the man who pulls the strings for Cargin. McCann has been like a good whiskey, he gets better with age.

Again in attack, Cargin have relied on some of their young emerging stars for scores though Jimmy Gribbin, Ciaran Bradley and Pat Shivers have been around for a few years but they have all been impressive this year with Shivers outstanding against the Hannastown side in the semi-final.

The tall rangy 19 year old scored 1-4 at Hightown and that marks him out as a player to watch while Tomas McCann can be a real handful for any defence on his day. Paul McCann and John Carron completed a very efficient attack while Michael Magill, Sean O’Neill, Enda McGroggan and Gerard McCann will all be hoping to get the nod for a starting place.

WHAT OF CREGGAN?

Like Cargin, Creggan have a good mix of youth and experience and I wouldn’t expect their side to show too many changes from the one that performed so well against St. Enda’s and Portglenone. Oisin Kerr has held the goalkeeping jersey for quite a while and has been a reliable number 1 while in front of him Ricky Johnston is likely to be flanked by Aidan Maguire and Eunan McAteer.

Marty Johnston brings a lot of experience at centre half while Jamie McCann came into the side as a substitute against St. Enda’s and retained his place against Portglenone in the semi-final. McCann is strong and combative and could complete a strong half-back line with Sam Maguire on the other flank.

At mid-field Conor McCann and Kevin Rice are a formidable combination while Ruairi McCann has been in excellent form in attack this year and his free taking could be vital while Kevin Small, Fintan Burke, Tiernan McAteer and Paddy Coey are all in the mix for a starting spot in attack.

Conor Og McCann captains the side and is likely to continue in the role of sweeper while manager McNulty could have an ace in his pack with Conor Small coming on in the last two games as a substitute as he makes full recovery from injury and scoring important goals in both games.

Cathal McOscar Photography

WHO WILL WIN?

Erin’s Own Cargin will start Sunday’s final as strong favourites and rightly so but the role of underdogs will suit the Kickham’s and they are unlikely to be overawed by their opponents reputation.

There are likely to be individual battles all over the field and the mid-field duel between Michael McCann and Kevin McShane for Cargin and Conor McCann and Kevin Rice for Creggan could be an important factor in the outcome of the game.

As always scores will be important and hopefully both sides will come out and have a go and we will not be treated to the ultra-defensive final that we witnessed two years ago. Both sides have players capable of getting vital scores on the big occasion with Tomas McCann and Pat Shivers for Cargin and Ruairi McCann and Conor Small for Creggan potential match winners.

As I’ve already said Cargin will start as strong favourites and should edge Sunday’s final but local derby’s can be hard to call and if the KIckham’s can ride the early storm and hang in there then they might not be too far away at the end and the 66 year wait could be over.