Carrickcruppen vs St Paul’s Preview

Heading into the Athletic Grounds this afternoon, both Carrickcruppen and St Paul’s will see this encounter as a massive opportunity.

A semi-final berth in the Intermediate Championship is the prize for whoever comes out on top. And what a prize.

Neither outfit would have been anyone’s favourites for the Championship at the start of the year, but get through this one, and you are just 60 minutes away from a final.

Carrickcruppen are a side coming through with all the bravery that fielding a young team tends to have.

They are backboned by last seasons under 20 Intermediate Championship winning team with loads of young talent throughout their ranks.

Eoin Woods caught the eye in their opening round win over Collegeland, hitting the net on two occasions to help his team over the line.

Jack Cunningham and Richard Keenan are two others that have graduated from that under 20 side and they form a solid midfield partnership.

Tiernan Kelly is another to watch out for and Carrickcruppen will hope the ‘no fear’ approach of their youngsters can get them a last four spot.

Of course, they can call upon the experience of goalkeeper Blaine Hughes, who helps to guide the youngsters along.  

A fear for the Camlough men may be their defence. They have performed well so far this season, conceding two goals, but do they have the strength to deal with the quality they face today?

St Paul’s pose a huge threat with their forward line and on it’s day it is capable of creating havoc against many defences.

At the forefront is of course Andrew Murnin. The 2009 Minor All-Ireland winner has been a main force on Kieran McGeeney’s Armagh side for a few years now.

When fit and in full flight, the rangy full forward is almost unmarkable and Carrickcruppen will have to plan their defensive structure around him.

There is the possibility however that Murnin may spend most of his time winning the ball around centre field rather than at the edge of the square.

If ever a player needed cloned, it’s Murnin, as St Paul’s will want to call on him at midfield and at full forward. Wherever he lines out, he’ll be a handful.

Photo Credit: Chris Totten

Eoin McConville does provide an outlet in their attack and it was the youngster who caused the most trouble against Tir na nOg the first day out.

McConville was a member of the Armagh under 20 panel this season and he racked up 1-7 last weekend, from play and frees.

We could witness a ‘twin-tower’ approach from the Lurgan based team with Murnin and McConville offering the biggest threats to the Carrickcruppen goal.

Both sides breezed through their first-round encounters and neither can be called the standout favourites for today’s quarter final.

St Paul’s will just have edge in terms of experience at this level, having won the Intermediate Championship six years ago.

Carrickcruppen will have no fear of the Lurgan side but the class of Andrew Murnin may just be enough to see St Paul’s over the line.

Prediction: St Paul’s

A massive thank you to Focus Strength & Conditioning for sponsoring our preview of today’s quarter final clash.