It’s a Donegal, Derry final in the Ulster Club Intermediate Football final when Sean MacCumhaill’s and Foreglen collide this Sunday in Faughanvale, Co. Derry. (Throw in 12 noon)
The game is the first in a double bill and is the curtain-raiser to the Senior League final meeting of Killybegs and Ballinderry.
For Sean MacCumhaills it is a first Ulster final appearance and going into the decider they are in pretty good shape with five wins out of six games including last Friday night’s 1-9 to 1-6 victory over Strabane Sigersons in Ballybofey.
Pat McNabb’s men also registered wins over Ogra Colmcille, Moneymore, Breedagh and Stewartstown with the only defeat at the hands of Lamh Dhearg.
“We’ve had a good campaign and the league has been gone well for us. The only game we lost was against Lamh Dhearg, and by that stage we had qualified for the play-off and we used it to experiment a fair bit and we are not reading too much into the game,” said McNabb.
“We are looking forward to the final and playing Foreglen, but our main focus is on the following weekend and the start of the league and playing Naomh Brid.
“But the Ulster League has been good for us and after losing a number of experienced and established players like Paddy McNulty, Mark Connolly, Shane McNulty and Bernard McGeehin, we thought we might struggle. But the young lads that have come in have done well.”
Paddy McNulty and Mark Connolly transferred to Dublin clubs Oliver Plunketts and St. Olafs while Shane McNulty and Bernard McGeehan have retired.
“The likes of Darren O’Leary and Benny McLaughlin have really knuckled down and have put in a big effort. They are in much better shape than they were last year and their performance levels have greatly improved and the results have followed. Darren McGowan has committed to us this season too and he is flying and has added great pace to the half-back line.
“It’s good to be in the final, but it is all about being right for Naomh Brid and the start of the All-County Football League,” insisted McNabb.
MacCumhaill’s have been without their county man Martin O’Reilly so far in the league, but if he comes through Donegal’s game with Dublin in Croke Park, on Saturday night, without picking up any knocks, he may feature at some stage on Sunday.
Foreglen go into Sunday’s final on the back of a 0-16 to 2-4 victory over Derry rivals Ballerin, on Sunday last. They finished joint top of Section D along with Tullyish, from Down, but qualified for the later stages, by virtue of the fact that they had received a walk-over against Tullyish.
This was one of two walk-overs they received, the other was over St. Enda’s from Belfast. Up to last Sunday’s semi-final the Derry men had only collected full points from their meeting with Faughanvale, while their other two games ended in draws. They drew 0-9 each with Naomh Padraig, Lifford and 2-7 to 1-10 with Aghyaran, from Tyrone.
MacCumhaills are the form team going into the final and look well positioned to get the day off to a winning start and claim a second Intermediate league title for the county in three season.
The title was last won by Killybegs in 2010 when they defeated Craigbane also from Derry, in Ballybofey.