GAA Football

Aghagallon's greater firepower could see them progress

Aghagallon's Adam Loughran has been in great form Picture: Mal McCann.

Northern Switchgear Antrim Senior Football Championship: St Mary's Aghagallon v St Enda's Glengormley (tomorrow, Pairc na Gael, Aghagallon, 2pm)

TWO teams on the cusp of great things. The problem for both Aghagallon and St Enda's in their win-or-bust showdown tomorrow afternoon is that they've been on the cusp for a bit too long.

Given the ever-decreasing window of opportunity for success in the modern game, you can only be a coming team for so long.

It's time for both Aghagallon and St Enda's to deliver on their rich promise.

Still backboned by the all-conquering St Ronan's, Lurgan class of 2017/18, Aghagallon are definitely good enough to reach a championship final.

They have all the tools. A tight, tigerish defence, a solid system of play, a sprinkling of county players and a bit of magic dust in attack.

St Enda's won't need any reminding of the heavy artillery Aghagallon carry after they left the Hightown Road with a well-deserved 3-10 to 1-12 on August 20.

Adam Loughran grabbed two smashing goals and the hugely impressive Gareth Magee also raised a green flag, while Eunan Walsh chipped in with a couple of important scores to see off a late surge from Carl McCabe's men.

As for St Enda's, we still don't know whether the glory days are in front of them or behind them.

Did popular managerial duo Frank Fitzsimons and Pat Hughes squeeze the best out of the Glengormley men or do they have more to give?

We should get a good indicator after tomorrow's winner-takes-all clash to see who accompanies Lamh Dhearg in the quarter-finals.

Fitzsimons and Hughes delivered some of the best days St Enda's have ever had. In 2018, they cleaned up on the intermediate front at county and provincial level and won a brilliant All-Ireland semi-final against Galway's An Spidéal in Navan.

But Kerry outfit Kilcummin, inspired by Kevin McCarthy, were much too strong for them in the final at Croke Park. Most intermediate teams are in awe when they step up to the senior ranks but there was real optimism and belief that St Enda's could make a fist of the league and championship.

Coming off the back of an All-Ireland Intermediate final, there was still a bounce in St Enda's legs in the early throes of the following season (2019) rattling Cargin's cage in their league opener.

But then the wheels started to buckle. They lost a few players who went travelling and that early promise of holding their own at senior level seemed to evaporate.

COVID stunted every team's natural growth and St Enda's weren't immune. They're still a team that can put it up to any of the top teams in the county but their problem is maintaining those standards.

They battered Aghagallon in the third quarter of their corresponding group game last month but couldn't shut the door in the closing stages. They have been desperately inconsistent within games.

That night, McCabe's side seemed to leave it to Odhran Eastwood to win the game single-handedly and while the county forward is dead-eyed in front of the posts, he simply didn't receive the support he so desperately needed in order for St Enda's to win.

Eoin Nagle, Ruairi Scott and Kristian Healy are key to St Enda's counter-attack while Peter Healy and fit-again James McAuley give a defensive solidity to the side.

These two teams have been coming for a while now. It's time one of them arrived.

With home advantage and a greater scoring threat, the smart money is on Aghagallon.

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GAA Football