St Patrick’s v Ballymacnab Match Preview

Saturday’s double header in the Athletic Grounds kicks off with Ballymacnab taking on St Patrick’s Cullyhanna.

These two clubs have been on similar journeys over the last decade or so and this will be their second ever meeting in the SFC.

Ballymacnab reached their first ever Senior Championship final in 2011 while two years later Cullyhanna did likewise.

Both were beaten by a dominant Crossmaglen side and St Pat’s overcame the Nab to reach that 2013 decider.

In 2016, Cullyhanna gained revenge over the Rangers and had the opportunity to once again march behind the band on championship final day.

This time it was Maghery who halted their journey. Two years on and it was Ballymacnab’s attempt once again to get their hands on the Gerry Fegan Cup for the first time ever.

Now or never?

Back-to-back finals yielded little success for the Round Towers and there may be a feeling that the ship has sailed for both clubs.

Although both teams have been in the senior championship for roughly the same amount of time, they’ve only ever clashed once.

That was back in 2013 when Cullyhanna emerged victorious after a terrific second half comeback.

Photo Credit: John Merry
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Cullyhanna have fallen into Intermediate football for next season unless they can find some form and win the Senior Championship.

The addition of Aidan Nugent and Jason Duffy, who missed large chunks of the league, will offer some hope.

Add youngster Caolan Reavey into the mix along with Shea Hoey and Pearse Casey and Cullyhanna have a threatening attacking unit.

It’s their defence that will cause most concern for Stephen Reel and who picks up Rory Grugan will be the biggest question.

Jack Grugan at full forward is a constant goal threat as is Gavin McParland and Cullyhanna will know the damage they can do.

Both sides have unbelievable attacking talent and Saturday will be about who’s defence can stand up the best and cope with whatever is thrown at them.

Photo Credit: John Merry