Ballintubber v Ballaghaderreen
McHale Park, Castlebar, 3.30pm
Not since the great Garrymore team in 1976 has a Mayo club completed a three-in-a-row of county senior football titles yet Ballintubber are closing in on that feat.
If they claim the Moclair Cup on Sunday they will attain that feat. Their resilience and will to win surfaced in their semi-final success over Crossmolina when substitute John Duffy grabbed a crucial second-half goal to ignite their revival. Alan Dillon, Danny Geraghty and Jason Gibbons are all exceptional players in their setup.
It is a huge pity that both teams are deprived of their leading marksmen with Ballintubber’s Cillian O’Connor (shoulder) and Ballaghaderreen’s Andy Moran (cruciate) both out injured.
In Moran’s absence Ballaghaderreen look to Barry Regan, Joe Dillon and James Kilcullen for inspiration. But Ballintubber have done enough to suggest they can maintain their winning run.
Betting: Ballintubber 8/15, Ballaghaderreen 2/1, Draw 6/1
Paths to Final
Group 3: Ballintubber 1-14 Breaffy 0-3; Ballintubber 1-13 Davitts 0-9; Ballintubber 1-14 Claremorris 0-5.
Group 4: Ballaghaderreen 1-17 Tourmakeady 1-7; Ballaghaderreen 1-10 Westport 1-8; Ballaghaderreen 3-9 Ballina Stephenites 2-8.
Quarter-finals: Ballintubber 0-11 Castlebar Mitchels 0-8; Ballaghaderreen 2-18 Garrymore 1-9.
Semi-finals: Ballintubber 1-7 Crossmolina 0-8; Ballaghaderreen 1-10 Knockmore 0-10.
Final: Ballinderry v Slaughtneil, Celtic Park, 3.30pm
Ballinderry are an established force in Derry having appeared in nine of the last 13 finals with success achieved in five of those encounters. They triumphed in last year’s final and will be hoping to replicate their feat of 2001 and 2002 when they completed back-to-back titles.
The attacking play of Raymond Wilkinson was central to their semi-final win over Banagher while experienced names like Kevin McGuckin, Enda Muldoon and Conleth Gilligan are still in operation.
Slaughtneil last reached the final in 2008, when they lost to Ballinderry by two points, and last won it in 2004 against Bellaghy. Chris Bradley and Se McGuigan are their key men up front, Chrissy McKaigue anchors the defence while Patsy Bradley is at midfield. Yet Ballinderry have the nous to prevail.
Betting: Ballinderry 4/7, Slaughtneil 7/4, Draw 7/1
Paths to Final
First round: Ballinderry 4-22 Greenlough 0-3; Slaughtneil 1-12 Coleraine 0-9.
Second round: Ballinderry 0-19 Kilrea 1-10; Slaughtneil 0-16 Glenullin 1-6.
Quarter-finals: Ballinderry 0-11 Dungiven 0-8; Slaughtneil 0-13 Lavey 1-5.
Semi-finals: Ballinderry 1-8 Banagher 0-10; Slaughtneil 0-16 Kilrea 1-13.
Semi-final replay: Slaughtneil 1-10 Kilrea 0-6.
Final: Mayobridge v Kilcoo, Páirc Esler, Newry, 3.30pm
In a battle of experience and consistency here, Mayobridge have a clear advantage. They won eight finals between 1999 and 2008, including a five-in-a-row between 2004 and 2008.
Since then their star has waned slightly having not featured in the last three finals yet they were ruthless in their semi-final destruction of Longstone with their attack boasting talents like Benny Coulter, Conleth O’Hare and Ryan Brady.
Kilcoo, the champions in 2009, were narrow winners over Bryansford in their semi-final and can look to the likes of Conor Laverty and Paul Devlin to inspire them up front.
Betting: Mayobridge 8/13, Kilcoo 13/8, Draw 7/1
Paths to Final
First round: Mayobridge 5-16 Shamrocks 0-9; Kilcoo 4-20 An Ríocht 0-7.
Secnd round: Mayobridge 1-13 Saval 1-10; Kilcoo 1-9 Castlewellan 1-4.
Quarter-finals: Mayobridge 0-17 Saval 1-11; Kilcoo 0-14 Castlewellan 0-11.
Semi-finals: Mayobridge 4-15 Longstone 1-10; Kilcoo 1-11 Bryansford 0-13.
Errigal Ciaran players celebrating their recent Tyrone county final triumph. Pic: INPHO/Presseye/Andrew Paton
ULSTER CLUB SFC
Preliminary Round: Mullahoran (Cavan) v Errigal Ciaran (Tyrone), Kingspan Breffni Park, 3.30pm
Both these clubs can relate to each other with Mullahoran winning their first Cavan title since 2006 recently while Errigal Ciaran also ended a six-year gap without success in Tyrone.
Mullahoran will have the newly crowned World Handball champion Paul Brady in their ranks while Enda O’Reilly and Eddie O’Reilly are in good scoring form.
Errigal Ciaran showed grit to dig out a win in the Tyrone final over Dromore. They will look to build on the momentum of that success, and even though they have to travel away, they have quality in Enda McGinley, Peter Harte and Thomas Canavan which could prove vital.
Verdict: Errigal Ciaran
Betting: Mullahoran 9/4, Errigal Ciaran 1/2, Draw 13/2