Player Predictions – Intermediate Final

Connaire Mackin (Shane O’Neill’s)

I think it will be a shootout between two very good attacking teams who have racked up some serious scores throughout the championship.

A derby game especially can be hard to call but I’m going with Clan na Gael to grind out a result, they have a lot of fire power up top that could be too much to handle for St Paul’s.

Ruairi Cunningham (Clonmore)

The Intermediate Championship has been the most difficult championship to predict this year with very little between most teams at this grade.

After a difficult start vs Shane O’Neill’s, Clan Na Gael have been very impressive in wins over Clonmore and Keady with Stefan Campbell and Shane McPartland fronting up the most formidable forward unit in Intermediate Football.

St Paul’s have surprised many in their championship run given their poor league results and have beaten two of the form teams in the division, Tullysaran and Carrickcruppen, but have been made to work harder on their way to the final.

Clan Na Gael’s defence has been key to their victories so far in the championship, only conceding 31 points and no goals over three games, however how they deal with the early long ball to Andrew Murnin will be key in deciding the outcome of this game.

Stopping the quick Clan Na Gael counter attacks will be vital for St Paul’s to keep the aforementioned front duo quiet.

St Paul’s have experience at this grade and will be confident they can cause an upset but will need goals to do so. I feel this year will finally be the year for the Diarmaid Marsden led Blues and they will scrape over the line with two or three points to spare.

Gavin Conlon (Tullysaran)

With it being an all Lurgan final, both teams will be very familiar with each other and know their strengths and weaknesses.

Clan na Gael will go into the game as slight favourites but I think if St Paul’s can get early ball into their full forward line, with their strong runners feeding off them, it will give them a chance to win the game.

That being said, I think Clan na Gael’s forward line will have too much firepower and will see them get over the line in the end.

Photo ccredit: Diarmuid McGurk

Aaron Findon (St Peter’s)

When Lurgan teams play each other, form goes out the window, you just have to look at the last 2/3 years league results. It’s always close and every team is beatable, regardless of who is on the field playing.

I’d imagine the Clans will start the game strong and open up a bit of a lead. St Paul’s will take a bit of time to work into the game and once they do it’s going to be very competitive.

If there is a winner in normal time, it will be a one-point game either way. I reckon this could be one of the first finals to go to penalties though.

Mark Shields (Whitecross)

I would imagine that both teams know each other in and out being neighbouring Lurgan teams. Having played both teams in the league this year, you noticed that they have similar styles.

I’d say both teams will set up defensively as the two sides have dangerous forwards up front that could do a lot of damage given the freedom.

Match ups on Andy and Soupy will need to be right from the off as we have seen what both players are capable of throughout this championship and for their country.

I see this game playing out as a cagey affair with both the occasion and the rivalry playing big factors. Whichever side being the most clinical in front of goal and produces the least mistakes will be the ones socially distancing taking the cup back to their clubs.

Clan na Gael will be going into the game as favourites with St. Paul’s probably being seen as the underdogs. I believe this will be a close game with Clans maybe edging the victory.

Paul Courtney (Ballyhegan)

Firstly, I’d like to wish my fellow clubman Michael McKeever all the best on Sunday, he’s part of the management team in St Paul’s.

With the two Lurgan teams knowing each other so well, it’s hard to look at this any other way than being a very close match. I think the first 10/15 minutes will be a cagey affair and then the game will open up after that.

We have seen with the senior game that goals really do win matches, and with both teams having potent forward lines, we could be in for quite a high scoring game.

With two of the best forwards in Armagh playing against each other, it could also be a case of which team gets to grips best with these players best. Both Soupy and Andy are very direct players, and when they get a sniff of a goal, they’ve only one thing on their mind.

I do however think that Clans may have the edge in that forward line overall. If they can get quality ball to these guys, they’ll cause damage and I think that could be that something extra that could get them over the line by a couple of points.

Odhran Fullerton (Keady)

This is a hard one to call as a local derby in a Championship Final is a close one. St Paul’s had a good win over Tullysaran in the semi-final and had good performances all over the pitch. I think they’ll look to launch the ball into Andrew Murnin for a lot of their scores.

Clan na Gael have a very strong team all over the pitch and are very organised. They’ll be looking to Soupy Campbell to inspire them whether he comes out the pitch or if he stays in full forward where he was unbelievable in the semi-final.

Having played the Clans in the semi-final and knowing how well they are set up and they quality of players they have, I think they’ll win this one.

Eamon McGeown (Sarsfields)

Living in a house that has both a St Paul’s and Clans supporter, I am sitting on the fence with this one. Both teams have a number of players who can make the difference so whoever can nullify these threats will probably come out victorious.