Cullyhanna v Liatroim – Castleblayeny – Sunday 4pm
All roads lead to Castleblayney this weekend as St Patrick’s take on Liatroim in the Ulster Intermediate semi-final.
The prize on the line for the winner is a spot in the final and at least another two weeks of competitive winter action.
St Patrick’s blazed through the Armagh championship. But their Ulster campaign, albeit just one game so far, has been much tougher.
They had to dig deep during their last outing to overcome Tyrone champions Pomeroy by the minimum of margins.
The game, as expected, was tight and tense throughout but Stephen Reel’s side produced a great second half display.
It all came down to the final minutes when Aidan Nugent landed a left-footed free to win the game.
All of Cullyhanna’s big players, Nugent, Ross McQuillan, Jason Duffy and Pearse Casey, stood up to be counted when their side needed them.
Mickey Murray, earning his first championship start, drove his side on throughout the entire encounter.
They face a Liatroim side that has already got two Ulster wins under their belts, having been drawn in the preliminary round.
The Down champions overcame Teemore Shamrock’s of Fermanagh in the first round, winning 3-6 to 0-4.
Their quarter-final was a little tricker, but they came through it once again to see off Monaghan’s Killanny by two points.
Liatroim have plenty of provincial experience as well. The club won the first ever Ulster Intermediate Championship back in 1998.
Not only that, but a number of their dual players also won the Ulster Intermediate Hurling Championship last season.
Star players such as Pearse Og and Conor McCrickard (the latter is on the Down squad) faced Middletown in last year’s hurling decider.
That will surely give them plenty of confidence as they search for a football medal this time around.
But Cullyhanna are too experienced to take their opponents for granted. They are the favourites and rightly so and should come through with a little to spare.