Predicted teams and match ups – Clan na Gael vs St Paul’s

As we now know, the Intermediate Champions for the 2020 season will hail from Lurgan and we should know a winner by 5.30pm this evening.

Clan na Gael have been hotly tipped to secure the title and progress to the Senior grade, where many feel they belong.

They are now one game away from completing that mission after seeing off Shane O’Neill’s, Clonmore and Keady to get here.

They face difficult but familiar opponents in neighbours St Paul’s, who will have their own targets of claiming championship glory.

Ciaran Nash’s men have seen off Tir na nOg, Carrickcruppen and Tullysaran on the road to the decider.

They have scored an eye-catching five goals in their last three outings and that will certainly be a stat troubling Diarmaid Marsden.

While the Clans have been favourites before the start of the championship, should St Paul’s rattle the net a few times today, we could see an upset.

The Clans defence has been in sublime form however and have yet to concede a single goal in the championship.

They will want to keep their 100% record intact and to do so they are going to have to get their defensive match ups right.

How the match day programme suggest both teams will start today’s clash!

No goals!

While Clans have yet to concede a three-pointer through their three games to date, they haven’t faced a forward line like they will today.

St Paul’s have been awesome in front of goal and have threats all over their attack that the Clans will have to be mindful of.

At the centre of it all is Andrew Murnin, who surprising hasn’t hit the net yet, but has assisted three of the five.

He is the focal point of the St Paul’s attack and Clan na Gael must limit his influence on proceedings.

Chris Taylor is most likely the man to be handed some a detailed job and will be there to keep the ball away from Murnin.

Of course, he’ll need assistance out the field, and in front of him, as blocking out Murnin is bigger than a one-man job.

Aaron McCreanor could pick up St Paul’s other dangerman Eoin McConville if Lennox Camara doesn’t start.

Should Camara get a late call up, he is likely to go man-to-man with McConville while McCreanor doubles up on Murnin.

Sam McClarnon will go to centre half back to pick up Ryan Lawless in another crucial match up that could decide the fate of the game.

Lawless has arguably been the standout player for St Paul’s, so McClarnon knows the important job his has on his hands.

Clans will have to get thier match ups right if they are to stop a strong St Paul’s attack!

Youth vs Experience

In the middle of the park we are most likely going to witness the battle of youth against experience.

Ronan Austin has been a mainstay of the Clan na Gael team and is probably the most experienced player on the field.

His opponent on Sunday will be a rising star in Lurgan football, with Niall McCrory shadowing the Clans captain.

Both players are exceptional fielders of the ball and give their teams a great platform by ruling the skies from their own kick outs.

Ciaran Fox always looks to McCrory with his long kick outs while Clans may feel they have other options in this area.

Check out our Preview Podcast of today’s clash!!

Either way, whoever comes out on top of this battle could lay the groundwork for their side to get their hands on the Atty Hearty Cup.

This will leave Niall Loney facing up against Charlie Harte also in the centre of the field and they could have big games, coming in under the radar.

Although Peadar Nash is named at centre-field in the programme, this is probably in an attempts to get their ‘quarter-back’ free.

If handed a free role, he will either drop back to help his defence and break on the counter or could possibly line out as a third midfielder.

Whatever position Nash decides to take up on the field, it’s unlikely that Clan na Gael will not detail him a marker.

We ccould witness a ding-dong battle in the middle between McCrory and Austin.

Clans forward class

Stefan Campbell caught the headlines with his superb showing against Keady in the semi-final, hitting 0-6 and assisting a goal.

‘Soupy’ seems to be just hitting form at the correct time of the season, a worrying thought for the St Paul’s defence.

Campbell’s switch to full forward gave his side a different dimension in the last four, having previously played further out the field.

Ruairi Grimes is a possible match up for Campbell and will have the versatility to follow the Clans talisman wherever he goes.

Shane McPartlan is a deadly footballer and like Campbell, can feature at both the inside line or around the middle.

He’s at his best closest to goal and St Paul’s could hand that job to Declan Magee, best suited to a full back position.

Niall Henderson is another standout performer in the blue and white and his marker selection will be crucial.

Could we see St Paul’s fighting fire with fire and place Nash on the Clans playmaker? Or will they decide on a more defensive minded player?

If Nash is trying to avail of a free role, then perhaps captain Ryan McCaughley will take up the man-marking mantle and vice-versa.

Although if St Paul’s try to allow Nash a free role, Clans will probably have the hardworking Sean Farren pick him up.

Stefan Campbell is a handful for anyone and St Paul’s will hope to get their match ups right!