Ulster powerhouses Kilcoo and Glen are on a collision course but need to get past Cargin and Enniskillen

19/12/2021  Kilcoos   Jerome Johnston    in action with  Watty Grahams    Michael Warnock   in yesterdays AIB Ulster Semi Final at the Athletic Grounds    Picture Seamus Loughran
19/12/2021 Kilcoos Jerome Johnston in action with Watty Grahams Michael Warnock in yesterdays AIB Ulster Semi Final at the Athletic Grounds Picture Seamus Loughran

The World Cup will be taking a backseat this weekend, for Ulster viewers anyway, as the senior championship finalists are to be decider and if all goes to form, we will be preparing for a Kilcoo-Glen showpiece come Sunday afternoon.

But for Cargin and firstly Enniskillen Gaels, they can take heart from what’s going on halfway around the world. Minnows Saudi Arabia and Japan have already upset the odds by defeating the might of Messi’s Argentina and four-time winners Germany respectively.

Those surprises may form some kind of inspiration for the Antrim and Fermanagh champions as they hope to create their own David and Goliath stories. But the bookies are very rarely wrong.

All-Ireland champions Kilcoo and Glen are unbackable favourites to reach the final and following last years thrilling semi-final clash between the pair, they look destined to slug it out for the Seamus McFerran trophy.

Conleith Gilligan’s men have been there and done that and look far too experienced to be caught on the hop, take their eye off the ball or indeed underestimate their opponents.

Kilcoo are aiming for a third Ulster title in a row and are also defending their hard-fought All-Ireland crown in the Athletic Grounds this evening.

The Down kingpins poured cold water on the prospect of a giant killing in the opening round as Ballybay, fresh off the back of knocking out Crossmaglen, looked primed to offer a real threat.

But that game didn’t live up its billing and as is usually the case, Kilcoo prevailed. In fact, Kilcoo haven’t lost a championship game since the heart-breaking extra time defeat to Corofin in the 2020 All-Ireland final.

Clonduff and Warrenpoint came closest in the Down championship this season, dragging the Magpies to extra time and in the formers case, penalties. There’s close, and there’s getting the job done and Kilcoo just don’t know how to lose.

Enniskillen Gaels are the new boys on the block and their penalty shootout win over Gowna will offer plenty of confidence. Cargin finally got the Ulster Championship monkey off their backs and like the Gaels, needed penalties to see off Naomh Conaill. And like the Gaels, are facing an uphill task on Sunday.

Glen are currently on a similar trajectory to Kilcoo and despite only having two back-to-back Derry championships in the bag, have been destined for provincial success for a long time now.

Their string of successful minors teams have finally made the breakthrough at adult level and having conquered the Oak Leaf County, the next target will be reaching the summit of Ulster club football.

Malachy O’Rourke’s men have only tasted championship defeat once in the last two season and that was against, you guessed it, Kilcoo in the last four of the 2021 Ulster championship.

So, it’s mission impossible for both Enniskillen Gaels and Cargin, but the intrigue and lure of shocks and upsets are what sport is all about. That being said, it will take a brave man to back against the favourites this weekend.