Family affair as cousins set to clash in All-Ireland semi-final
IT will be a family affair for relations Ryan McEvoy and Conor McCrickard when Ulster champions Kilcoo come up against Cork and Munster kingpins St Finbarr’s.
The pair - who lined out alongside each other for Down in last summer’s Ulster Championship defeat to Donegal - will find themselves on opposite sides in that All-Ireland semi-final.
Full-back McEvoy continues to grow in stature and, having turned 21 just last week, is already celebrating being an Ulster champion for a second time.
Forward McCrickard, meanwhile, is from the neighbouring parish of Liatroim but has starred for the Barrs after work placement as part of his Ulster University degree took him down to the Rebel County.
The 22-year-old helped the Cork city club claim a first Munster football title since 1986 with victory over Kerry’s Austin Stacks yesterday, and he will be coming up against a familiar foe in a fortnight’s time.
“Conor’s actually a relative - a far out cousin but still a relation,” said McEvoy after Kilcoo’s Ulster final triumph over Derrygonnelly yesterday.
“I’ve played county minors, U20s and seniors with Conor, he’s been unbelievable down there. He’s cutting it up.
“But we have a job to do in two weeks, we just want to get over the line again.”
So you won’t be in touch with him then?
“I’ll not be,” he smiles, “I wouldn’t think it.”
The Kilcoo defence dealt admirably with a second half aerial bombardment as Derrygonnelly tried to claw their way back into yesterday’s game, and McEvoy says the Magpies knew they couldn’t afford to be complacent in their bid to hold onto the Seamus MacFerran Cup.
“It was a very tough first half, they set up very defensive, hard to break down at times. But we cut through for the goal and that was the real opener for us.
“They didn’t seem to have any real way back after that but they battled right to the end, they give us everything they had, kicked high ball and thankfully we dealt with it well.
“We knew we couldn’t afford to be complacent. The second you are, the ball’s in the net and it’s game on again. Thank God that didn’t happen, we got boys in around the breaks and dealt with it well.
“It’s great to be Ulster champions again.”
And, having lost out to Corofin in the All-Ireland club final two years ago, the aim is to go one better this time around.
“Two years ago it was magical, getting that first Ulster… I think everybody just sort of put the club before themselves and it paid off. This year was the same. These boys put football before everything else in their lives, everybody works for each other.
“We want to go far this year, we want to win the All-Ireland. Losing to Corofin was heart-breaking to say the least. When you’re coming off a defeat like that, it’s demoralising, but we knew we just had to regroup and come back stronger.”