Kilcoo chase Ulster crown

Kilcoo chase Ulster crown

27 November 2019

A NEW name will be engraved on the Seamas McFerran Cup when Kilcoo clash with Naomh Conail in the Ulster Club SFC final at Healy Park, Omagh, on Sunday.

Neither side have won the competition and the Magpies are hoping that it will be a case of third time lucky for them. 

The Down champions will be playing in their third final in eight years, having lost out to Crossmaglen in 2012 and Slaughtneil four years later.

Naomh Conaill, from Glenties, appeared in the 2010 decider, but they too fell to Crossmaglen in their one and only appearance in the showdown.

The Donegal side have been installed as favourites, given they beat holders Gaoth Dobhair 0-8 to 0-7 in the Donegal SFC decider after extra time.

However, that will suit Kilcoo just fine. Manager Mickey Moran will use the perceived underdogs tag to lift his players to even greater exertions.

It certainly won’t be easy, but Moran will have his side chomping at the bit and prepared to die for the cause. 

It’s hard to see Kilcoo making and changes in their starting 15. The tried and trusted Kilcoo way rarely lets them down and they are now grinding out results and getting the job done rather than putting on a show.

They now know how to get the job done and that will stand Moran’s men in good stead when push comes to shove on Sunday.

There is no doubt that football in Donegal is on a high and Naomh Conaill are a physically big side, but the bigger they are the harder they fall in Kilcoo.

That fact is not lost on Kilcoo coach Paul Devlin, part of Moran’s management team.

“Any one of the Donegal clubs are capable of winning an Ulster title, so we know that we’re going to be up against it. It’s a formidable task,” he said.

The former Derry development squad coach also believes that Kilcoo are in the right frame of mind to lift their first Ulster crown.

“I have been blown away by the attitude of the Kilcoo players. Nothing else matters to them,” he remarked.

“These guys work their lives around training. There’s nobody in the parish who isn’t doing something for the club. I think that’s pretty remarkable for a small area and I think it is a major factor in why and how they’ve been so successful.”

With Kilcoo, what you see is what you get and Devlin is adamant that they are on track for a maiden Ulster title.

“What we are striving for is to get that complete performance and against Glenties, we will needto be that competitive.

“There were stages during the county championship where we not so much questioned the boys, but we wondered was there another Ulster campaign in them. Were they capable of winning another Down?

“We’ve been getting over the line in games and whilst that’s all that matters, there have been periods in games where we’ve played really good football and shown what we are capable of.” 

It’s now or never for Kilcoo and although they have a plethora of good young players coming through, Sunday’s game might just well be a last chance saloon for some of the more experienced players in the squad.