GAA Football

Ulster Intermediate and Junior Football Championship Side Lines

BREDAGH celebrate beating Liatroim and winning the 2018 Down Intermediate Football Championship Final at Pairc Esler, Newry. Picture by Tony Bagnall.
Padraig Kelly

Ulster Intermediate Football Championship

Mullahoran (Cavan) v Bredagh (Down)

(Saturday, Cootehill, 2.30pm)

BY the time Bredagh were founded in 1973, Mullahoran already has 12 Cavan SFC titles to their name so this is very much a case of new blood against an experienced giant.

However, what has happened in the past will count for very little here as this appears to be a clash of two very evenly matches sides.

Jody Gormley's Cherryvale project has now secured two Down Intermediate titles in three seasons and they looked extremely strong for the majority of their final win over Liatroim.

They came close to blowing it though as the Fontenoys came from 10 points down to close the gap to one before Bredagh edged home 3-13 to 1-17 with Donal Hughes top-scoring with 1-10.

The dual star was in sensational form throughout the Down Championship while there were also big showings from Owen Costello, county man Conor Francis and vice-captain Owen Costello.

Mullahoran are not used to playing at this level. Indeed their previous intermediate win came in 1978 when they defeated recently crowned senior champions Castlerahan.

Their scoring in Cavan was remarkably consistent as they hit between 12 and 15 scores in all seven games.

County man Killian Brady captains the side while Enda O'Reilly, Philip Brady and Cormac O'Reilly are the team's heavy scorers.

Mullahoran had a tremendous finish to their Cavan final with Cuchulainn's as they hit 2-6 without reply in a 14-point win. That surge will give them huge confidence heading into the Ulster series.

St Peter's (Armagh) v Tattyreagh, St Patrick's (Tyrone)

(Saturday, Athletic Grounds, 5pm)

ANY championship in Tyrone is hard won so Tattyreagh's performance over the last two years is rather extraordinary.

Last season they won the Junior Championship, their first adult success, and they followed it up with the intermediate crown 12 months later.

Stephen McHugh's team had to call on all of their fighting qualities to get into the Ulster series as their four matches included a one-point win, a two-point win and two three-point wins.

In the final as they defeated Augher 2-12 to 2-9 in a game that started in whirlwind fashion.

The Tatts opened up with a Gareth Mimnagh goal and a James Darcy free but within minutes they found themselves 2-2 to 1-1 down.

They kept their cool and went in level at the break before edging proceedings after the interval.

It has been a fantastic year for Ronan McAlinden's St Peter's as they completed the intermediate double.

The championship success, of course, was especially welcomed as they finally ended their long wait having last triumphed in 1981.

The Whites can call on Armagh midfielder Aaron Findon while former Orchard attacker Niall McConville leads their attack.

Others like Emmett Haughian, Ciaran McCavigan and Darren Moore provide plenty of experience across the pitch.

Niall Creaney (0-4) and the fleet-footed Feargal Moore (1-1) were the chief scorers in their 1-11 to 1-10 win over Mullaghbawn in the county final.

They also defeated Shane O'Neill's by a point in the semi-final so, like their opponents, they have the ability to grind out a result.

St Enda's (Antrim) v Doohamlet, O'Neill's (Monaghan)

(Sunday, Corrigan Park, 12.30pm

NO side carries more experience into the Ulster Intermediate Championship this year than Monaghan champions Doohamlet.

The O'Neill's are taking part in the provincial competition for the fourth time since 2010 and they are rarely found wanting.

On their first visit they went all the way to the final before losing out to Lisnaskea while they lost the 2012 semi-final to Cookstown by a point. That was where they exited in 2015 too as Loughinisland hit them for four goals.

Manager Dessie McBennett has a nice mix of youth and experience with Monaghan star Colin Walshe their star player.

He grabbed the winning score in the county final against Sean McDermott's while his younger brother Jamie, Barry McBennett and Barry McGinn provide plenty of options in attack.

They don't tend to concede a lot so if they can get the attack firing they will be targeting another adventure.

St Enda's first Antrim title confirmed that they had achieved that hardest of tasks – turning underage success into senior glory.

Manager Frank Fitzsimons alluded to as much following their final win over Gort na Mona as he said that his job was simply to steer the obvious talent in the right direction.

Odhran Eastwood, Kristian Healy and Ruairi Scott are some of the exciting young prospects now making their mark on the senior team and they have held their own in Division One this season too.

They finished top of the 1B section and look set to be a big player in Antrim footballer for years to come.

Glenfin (Donegal) v St Mary's, Banagher (Derry)

(Sunday, Ballybofey, 2.30pm)

GLENFIN went into their Donegal final with Aodh Ruadh as underdogs but they produced a superb performance to win 1-10 to 0-7.

Karl McGlynn's goal gave them a three-point advantage at the break and with Gerard Ward nailing nearly ever free he faced, they were able to keep their opponents at arm's length.

They know they were lucky to even be in the final having kicked two injury time scores to defeat St Naul's in the semi-final.

Liam Breen's side have moved between senior and intermediate in recent years but there will be a hope that this silverware can really kick things on.

Frank McGlynn continues to have a huge influence while Jason Morrow and

Stephen Carr are youngsters that have really caught the eye.

Glenfin conceded a combined 0-23 in their last three championship games but that defensive mettle will be tested against a Banagher side that has been posting big tallies all season.

Managed by Enda Muldoon and Declan Mullan, they took that attacking talent into the Ulster preliminary round as they defeated Fermanagh champions Belnaleck 2-11 to 0-9 with Tiarnan Moore grabbing both their goals.

They have already ended a 66-year wait for the club's first adult championship and with Mark Lynch and Brian Og McGilligan driving them on, they could have an impact on Ulster yet.

Ulster Junior Football Championship

Aghadrumsee, St McCartan's (Fermanagh) v Limavady Wolfhounds (Derry)

(Sunday, 2.30pm)

IT has been a busy few weeks for the Limavady players, young star Callum Brown in particular.

As well as helping the Wolfhounds to a Derry title and an Ulster quarter-final win over Teconnaught, he signed a two-year rookie deal with AFL outfit GWS Giants.

The player is not due to depart until next month so he is still expected to be available to help his teammates as they chase a spot in the Ulster final.

His involvement in a potential decider would be up for discussion, but that's a problem the Oakleaf champions will hope to have to deal with down the line.

They will be buoyed by a hard-fought win over a Teconnaught side that came out of Down without losing a game in league or championship.

Someone's 100 percent record had to go as Limavady had also won every game this year, and it was the Derry side that came out on top following a 2-9 to 0-11 win.

Cormac Quigley and Brandon O'Brien's goals either side of the interval proved just the tonic in the four-point win.

Their opponents sat back so they had to be patient but they got scores at the right time although manager Dominic Woods will feel that there is plenty of room for improvement.

Kieran McGlinchey and Aaron McGregor were impressive throughout while Quigley was their main man up front as he grabbed a goal and came close to adding another in an electric display.

It was a performance that wasn't polished by any means, but it contained enough grit and patience to suggest that the Oakleaf champions could have a big say in Ulster, although they will face a different type of challenge this weekend.

Aghadrumsee are having a season that will live long in the memory as they followed up their Fermanagh win with a fantastic victory against Keady at the Athletic Grounds.

The Armagh champions were heavy favourites but the Magpies played some beautiful attacking football to win 1-15 to 2-10.

What was most pleasing was that they had shown what they can do when their tails are up – hitting 1-11 in the first half – while they also demonstrated that they can keep their composure as they successfully quelled a Keady fightback.

County players can often be the difference in matches in club championship games and this was no different as Fermanagh forward Eddie Courtney delivered a masterclass in finishing.

The player chipped in with six points, four from play, with some of them of the highest standard.

Manager Colum Monaghan had good performers right across the pitch with the likes of goalscorer Dale Crudden, the Kearns, Eugene and Darren, Noel Beggan and Stephen Flynn all showing well.

These counties have horrendous records in this competition with neither producing a winner. Limavady have come closest having lost the 2003 final to Monaghan Harps after a replay.

They may get another chance at the title while Aughadrumsee will attempt to become only the second Erne county club to reach the final after Belnaleck last season.

Emyvale (Monaghan) v

WHEN it comes to the Ulster Junior series Emyvale are one of the big hitters and Declan Loughman's side look determined to reassert their dominance this season.

The Monaghan outfit are one of only three clubs to have won the competition more than once, and they are attempting to move above Monaghan Harps (2) on the roll of honour to joint top with Tyrone side Rock (3).

Those previous wins came in 2009 and 2013 and a number of players remain, especially from the latter success, and that gives them invaluable experience.

Of the 15 players that started their 2013 Ulster final win against Killeeshil, nine featured in their last outing against Newtownstewart with eight of those starting.

The 2-15 they hit against the St Eugene's brought their scoring tally to 7-28 for their two provincial games to date.

Daniel McMahon (1-13) and David McAllister (3-6) are their two main attacking threats up front while the brilliant Ryan McAnespie, who has contributed 1-1, is always a danger to any team.

One area of concern for Loughman is that they made slow starts in both encounters.

Against Drumlane in the preliminary round, they found themselves 1-1 to no score down after just two minutes before eventually recovering to win by 12 points.

They took a while to get into their stride against Newtownstewart as well as they trailed 0-4 to 0-0 after 10 minutes and were six points down at one stage. Yet again, however, their powers of recovery were plain to see as they claimed a nine-point victory.

(250 words to be added Monaday following final quarter-final on Sunday)

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