Down champions Bredagh travel south for Ulster Intermediate clash with Cavan outfit Mullahoran
Ulster Club Intermediate Football Championship quarter-final: Mullahoran (Cavan) v Bredagh (Down) (tomorrow, Cootehill, 2.30pm)
DOWN champions Bredagh swap the city streets of south Belfast for small town county Cavan this afternoon for a run-in with the once all-conquering ‘Dreadnoughts'.
Their opponents Mullahoran were senior champions of the football-mad Breffni county just six years ago and recovered from a fall from grace by winning Division Two this year but Bredagh will travel south with confidence.
Jody Gormley's side has already shown the determination to turn a so-so season around and then hang in there when the going got tough in a thrilling county championship final against Liatroim Fontenoys a fortnight ago.
Defeat in their championship opener against Darragh Cross proved to be a timely wake-up call for the Cherryvale-based side and after it they moved through the gears with commanding wins against Drumaness and Annaclone. The final looked to be going the same way 10 minutes into the second half when Bredagh led by 12 points but the Fontenoys came roaring back before the Belfast men found the mental fortitude to slam the door in their faces and hang on for a two-point win.
“Our boys showed tremendous character to ride out the storm,” said manager Gormley, a former Bredagh player and an Ulster Championship winner with his native Tyrone.
“It was a great game and it asked all the right questions of us. You could say we took our foot off their throat but, on the other hand, we were up against very strong opponents and you would hope that will help us to become a stronger side going into this game.”
Stand-out forward Donal Hughes scored 1-10 in the final. Hughes is the skipper of a side that includes the experience of former Fermanagh star Tommy McElroy and Down players Owen Costello and Conor Francis.
“Donal works in Dublin and he has shown tremendous commitment to the club,” said Gormley.
“The last couple of rounds he has been coming up on Wednesdays and Friday nights so he is showing great leadership and commitment to Bredagh. When the pressure is on we have a number of players who you can really count on, we have championship players and the bigger the occasion the better they perform and none moreso than Donal.”
Apart from Benny Hasson, who has missed the entire season with an ACL injury, Gormley has a full panel to pick from for this afternoon's clash against a Mullahoran side that hammered Cuchulainns 2-16 to 0-8 to win Cavan's Tommy Gilroy Cup.
“It's an opportunity for our boys to play against Mullahoran who would traditionally be a very strong footballing power in Cavan,” said Gormley.
“It would appear that they are going through a rebuilding stage and they look to have a good blend of youth and experience to use this as a platform to get back into the Cavan senior championship.
“It's chance for our players to face up to the challenge outside of Down and see what level we're at in Ulster, no doubt we'll be asked questions but we want to play at as high a level as we possibly can.”
Ulster Club Intermediate Football Championship quarter-final: St Peter's (Armagh) v Tattyreagh St Patrick's (Tyrone) (today, Athletic Grounds, 5pm)
LAST season Tattyreagh were junior champions in Tyrone and they followed that up with intermediate honours this year. Stephen McHugh's side beat Augher in the final after recovering from a 2-2 to 1-1 deficit early on.
Meanwhile, St Peter's will have Armagh midfielder Aaron Findon in centrefield while former Orchard frontman Niall McConville leads the attack. The Lurgan side overcame Mullaghbawn in the county final to get to this stage and have the ability to grind out a result tomorrow.
Ulster Club Intermediate Football Championship quarter-final: St Enda's (Antrim) v Doohamlet O'Neill's (Monaghan) (tomorrow, Corrigan Park, 12.30pm)
VASTLY-experienced Monaghan champions Doohamlet are in provincial competition for the fourth time in eight years. Losing Ulster finalists in 2010, they reached the semis in 2012 and 2015 and manager Dessie McBennett will look to county star Colin Walshe to lead the way this year.
Meanwhile, former Antrim manager Frank Fitzsimmons has brought success to St Enda's who saw off Gort na Mona to win their county title.
Young prospects Odhran Eastwood, Kristian Healy and Ruairi Scott will be their main men tomorrow.
Ulster Club Intermediate Football Championship quarter-final: Glenfin (Donegal) v St Mary's, Banagher (Derry) (tomorrow, Ballybofey, 2.30pm)
GLENFIN surprised favourites Aodh Ruadh to win the Donegal title by six points thanks to Karl McGlynn's goal and the accuracy of free-taker Gerard Ward.
With Frank McGlynn influential, Liam Breen's side, which has operated between senior and intermediate football in recent years, have been defensively solid this season.
Meanwhile, Banagher, managed by Enda Muldoon and Declan Mullan and driven on by Mark Lynch and Brian Og McGilligan, ended a 66-year wait for the club's first adult championship this year. They have been posting impressive tallies all year and have already accounted for Fermanagh's Bellnaleck 2-11 to 0-9 in the preliminary round.