Middletown vs Cuchulainns
Sunday 27th Sept – Athletic Grounds – 4.00pm
If league ties are anything to go by, then todays Senior Hurling Championship Final should go right down to the wire.
Middletown and Cuchulainns crossed paths in round five of the hurling league, with both teams having to settle for a 1-15 all draw.
League winners Keady were handed their marching orders by the reigning champions Middletown in the first round.
A game that didn’t quite live up to the excitement expected, Middletown did enough to progress to the semi-final stages, winning 1-17 to 0-16.
Middletown had enough quality to pass a tricky Derrynoose examination, winning by ten points in the end, 3-19 to 2-12.
They didn’t have it all their own way as Derrynoose were six points up midway through the second half and level with ten minutes left.
But Middletown displayed their talented attacking class with Ryan Gaffney hitting the net twice in the final minutes.
Cuchulainns will be well aware of the threat Middletown pose in their attacking third of the field and will look to close down the dangermen.
Marty Moan was another who hit the net in the semi final while Dean Gaffney is an essential player in the forwards.
Cuchulainns do have a lot of experience in their defence with the likes of Ciaran Clifford, Caolan Rice and Conor Devlin.
The city side find themselves in the 2020 showpiece after they defeated Sean Treacy’s in their last four tie.
Cuchulainns showed their own attacking threat as they posted a strong 2-20, while holding the Lurgan side to 2-6.
Middletown will certainly take note of their opponents high scoring ability and look to Tiarnan Nevin, and the Curry’s, Odhran and Nathan, to shut down the scoring threat.
The men in black and white will certainly walk into todays encounter carrying the favourites tag they’ve held all year.
Middletown look to complete the double of Championship wins having lifted the trophy last season, beating Keady in the decider.
Connor McCann’s men are not only on the search for two in a row, but a win today would see them become champions for the fifth time in six years.
The only dent in their record so far came two seasons ago when they reached the final, but Keady claimed a three point win.
Cuchulainns on the other hand have had to wait four years to line out on county final day, when they were defeated by Middletown back in 2016.
They were last crowned champions of Armagh in 2013, when they eventually saw off old rivals Keady after a replay.
If John Toner’s side are to come out on top, they will have to banish any early nerves and hope they hit top form.
Should we base this game on the league, a tense and tight encounter is to be expected, but Middletown’s experience and attacking quality should see them over the line.