After a hectic 24 hours last weekend, Cloughaneely travel to Dungannon on Sunday in search of a first Ulster final slot.
The Donegal Intermediate champions take on Down champions, Warrenpoint, in the Intermediate Club semi-final at 2.15pm in Dungannon.
Cloughaneely showed remarkable resolve last weekend when overcoming Buncrana 0-15 to 0-7 in the Donegal final on Saturday at O’Donnell Park in Letterkenny and then travelling to Owenbeg, Dungiven, on Sunday and, having trailed by eight points, defeating the Derry champions, Castledawson by 2-14 to 2-11, after extra time.
They have a little extra recovery time for Sunday’s semi-final, but they will face a really tough test against the Down champions, who accounted for Dungannon Clarkes in the quarter-final 0-17 to 2-9, with Down senior player Ross McGarry their standout performer.
McGarry hit 0-10, five from play and five from frees, in a close game played in Pairc Esler, Newry.
The Warrenpoint side have form in this competition as two years ago they reached the final, only to lose out to the Owen Mulligan powered Fr Rocks of Cookstown, who went on to win the All-Ireland Intermediate title.
For Cloughaneely manager Joe McGarvey it has been a hectic time, but he says his charges are “ready to go again on Sunday.”
Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, McGarvey was awaiting a video of the Warrenpoint game against Dungannon from the Ulster Council.
The Down side are obviously quite similar to Cloughaneely, as the Donegal side have hovered between senior and intermediate in recent years.
“Our main aim was to win the Donegal Intermediate title and get back into the senior ranks,” says McGarvey.
“We would like to stay there. We have only been involved in the Ulster Club Championship once before, back in 2006. It is new ground for us. That year we were out against Coleraine of Derry the following week and lost out.”
That Coleraine team, powered by the McGoldricks, went on to contest the All-Ireland club and won the Donegal senior championship a few years later.
McGarvey lost a number of players at the start of the year, among them John Harley and the talented Paul Sweeney.
They also lost sharpshooter Shaun McGarvey to injury but they have made light of the setbacks with a team built around the Maguires, McFaddens, McKeevers, McGarveys and John Fitzgerald with veteran Denis Boyle still pulling the strings up front.
“We have a young team with nine of them U-21,” said McGarvey, and maybe that was the reason why they were able to overcome the fatigue that must have been a factor last weekend.
“It has been enjoyable week. The boys were very responsible when they won the Donegal title on Saturday last. They went for a meal and then went home to prepare for the Ulster tie on Sunday.
“They were keen to do well in Ulster,” added McGarvey, who said he did have worries about having to play two tough games in such a short time-span.
“The first thought was, will our boys be ready for this.Now McGarvey takes his team on another road trip with a special carrot at the end of it - a n Ulster final date.
Who would bet against them?