St. Naul’s and Downings dice for the All Sports Intermediate Reserve Championship crown, in Sunday’s opener in O’Donnell Park. (throw-in 2 pm).
In what is a novel pairing, St Naul’s are bidding for a second Reserve crown. They won their first back in 1994, the very first year of the championship.
In the case of Downings, they are chasing a first, having tasted defeat in their only other final appearance in 1999.
Francis McHugh and Brendan McGee are the Downings joint management team with Maxi Curran the player coach. Glen Campbell is the man at the helm of St. Naul’s.
Both McGee and Campbell were giving very little away about their teams and selections two weeks at a press briefing in the Clanree Hotel.
Both sides boast the usual mix of youth and experience with Aidan Meehan, Shaun Kerrs, Conor McGowan, and Michael Quinn the young guns in Campbell’s armoury, while Patrick Burke, Liam McGroarty and the ageless John ‘Cookie’ Meehan bring the necessary maturity and experience to the Naul’s formation.
Andy Connor, Shane McClafferty, the Curran brothers Maxi and Barney, both of whom have poached a number of vital goals on the way to the final, are the experienced men in the Downings line-up.
Maxi Curran has shaken off a hamstring injury that threatened his participation in the original fixture. The county U-21 boss suffered the injury as he scored the crucial goal that sparked the Downings revival in the semi-final win over Fanad Gaels.
Barry Trearty and James McBride have stepped up from this year’s minor team to really impress in Downings run to the final, with McBride also a regular among the goals.
This tie has all the hallmarks of an entertaining and close tie with both sides quietly fancying their chances of taking home the silverware.