Carrickcruppen take on Culloville this weekend in an intriguing Intermediate Final.
The Blues have bounced back from their league relegation to storm to a championship showpiece.
They’ve beaten the three favourites for the crown in Shane O’Neill’s, St Paul’s and Sarsfields along the way.
Cruppen earned their own upset as they impressively overturned Tullysaran in the last four.
Looking forward to this weekends showdown, we’ve picked out a player in each camp that has been inspirational in getting their team this far.
Niall Rowland (Culloville)
There possibly hasn’t been a more influential player in the entire championship than Culloville’s Niall Rowland.
He has been the architect of so much of what the Blues have done well this season.
Starring in midfield, Rowland combines his defensive and attacking duties to star at both ends.
The 2009 All-Ireland winning minor has been the perfect playmaker. His link up play with Cathal Hatzer in the semi final was a joy to watch.
Not only that, but he chipped in with 1-1 to bring his tally to 2-4 for the entire campaign.
Rowland also landed the winning against St Paul’s, to ensure their place in the last four.
In the absence of Colm Watters for the last two games, Rowland has really led from the front and has been heroic.
If Carrickcruppen are to have a chance they will have to shut down Rowland from the start. Easier said than done.
Eoin Woods (Carrickcruppen)
There are a raft of youngsters that have led Carrickcruppen to this stage. And secured the Division 2B title during the summer.
James Bennett, Aaron Kimbley, Jack Cunningham, Richard Keenan, Lorcan McParland, Adam Matthews and Tiernan Kelly have all graduated from the under 20 team that won the Intermediate Championship in 2019.
Eoin Woods was also involved in winning that championship, when they dismantled Clan na Gael in the final.
He has been the star of their 2021 championship charge and is the sides top scorer from play.
Only free taker Richard Keenan has raised more flags than Woods, who has recorded 1-6 in three games.
He didn’t have the best of starts against Collegeland, but burst into life in the quarter final. His goal put the final nail in the Wolfe Tone coffin.
Woods followed that up with another fabulous performance in the semi final. Tullysaran couldn’t get to grips with the rangy half forward, who nailed 0-3 before the interval.
While Cruppen are far from a one-man team, Culloville will know they need to deal with Woods to improve their chances on Sunday.