It’s the year of the underdog in the Intermediate Championship as an unexpected winner will get their hands on the trophy.
Neither Carrickcruppen nor Culloville were tipped to go all the way before the competition commenced.
Both are there on merit as they have been the two most impressive teams through the championship.
Cruppen have enjoyed an outstanding 2021, winning Division 2B before seeing off Collegeland, Wolfe Tones and Tullysaran to make the decider.
Their youthful outfit have played without fear, led by the outstanding Blaine Hughes between the sticks.
His ‘sweeper keeper’ role has been one of the highlights of the championship. The Armagh number one has also scored in all three of their outings.
Eoin Woods, Tiernan Kelly, Richard Keenan and Adam Matthews have all been driving forces behind their championship run.
Barry Flynn’s men head into the clash with huge momentum behind them. They showed great heart and determination to overcome Tullysaran the last day out after conceding a goal inside the opening sixty seconds.
Culloville have been one of the tales of the season having been relegated after a disastrous league campaign.
They bounced back with three giant killings in the championship and were huge underdogs heading into all three of their games.
Shane O’Neill’s, St Paul’s and Sarsfields were all built up as early title contenders. But Culloville put the trio to the sword with some quality displays.
Niall Rowland has been breath-taking at times throughout the championship, recording 2-4 across their three games.
His midfield role has been crucial this year while his older brother Fergal commands the centre half back position.
Colm Watters hasn’t started the last two games but is still his sides top scorer. His 2-3 against Shane O’Neill’s got their campaign off to a flying start.
Dara Quinn, Ryan Garvey and Cathal Hatzer have took up the scoring burden in Watters’ absence and they will ask serious questions of the Cruppen defence.
The Atty Hearty Cup will be heading to South Armagh on Sunday evening no matter what happens. And it will be a fairy tale ending for one of these two underdogs.