Liam Breen expects a ferocious battle when his Glenfin side tackle Derry Intermediate champions Banagher on Sunday in MacCumhaill Park (throw-in, 2.30pm).
The Oak Leafers secured their Ulster quarter-final spot following a comfortable enough victory over Fermanagh’s Belnaleck in the preliminary round. Glenfin, though, bring serious momentum into the clash.
Having fended off early league relegation fears and used that boost to propel their championship ambitions, Breen’s side still went into the Intermediate decider in Donegal as big underdogs against Aodh Ruadh.
However, a blistering showing against the Ballyshannon men secured Glenfin championship gold and a place in the provincial race.
Breen says Banagher, with the likes of Tiernan Moore, Mark Lynch and Brian Og McGilligan, are a dangerous outfit.
He told the Donegal Democrat: “We’ll not be going out looking to just take part. We want to win the game. Banagher are a very good outfit. It’s a tough assignment. We’re determined to give it our best shot.
“The fact that we’re the home side, in Ballybofey, is a huge advantage to us. It’s just down the road. We’re very familiar with it. We’d have a good enough track record there. We’re delighted with the home draw. Had the Fermanagh side come through we’d have been away from home.
“We’ll see how it goes. The buzz in training is great and we’re looking forward to the game.”
Glenfin will, no doubt, have had interested eyes trained on that previous Ulster outing for their weekend opponents. Still, he admits it’s a step into the unknown for the most part.
“Yeah, when you’re playing in Donegal you always have a fair idea what you’re up against. Ulster is completely different. We know very little about Banagher. Two of the lads (backroom team) went up to watch the preliminary round game against the Fermanagh champions.
“I don’t know if we learned much from it. They won comfortably enough. They got a few goals – one in each half. But that should lead to an open game of football. Ulster club is like that, a little more open.
“The boys are looking forward to it. If we could get a run then who knows where it could take us.”
Glenfin had a number of lads involved in the club’s last two U-21 games and it seems they’ve all come through unscathed. Breen believes those matches will have been a benefit to the group in terms of that cluster of players’ sharpness.
“We’ve quite a few,” he explained. “Jason Morrow would be a huge man for us. Stephen Carr also. We’ve Ross Marley and Eoin Donnelan there too. You just have to keep your fingers crossed and hope they come through. We’d 30 togged for the county final. About 10 of those would be involved with the U-21s.
“At the same time, it’ll only help those lads. All the other ones are good to go. It’s funny when you win something or get to finals everyone is rearing to go! Nah, it’s great to be looking forward to the game without any major concerns," says Breen.
The Glenfin U-21s had two big wins, defeating holders Gaoth Dobhair before overcoming neighbours MacCumhaill's. They are now in county semi-final.
It was a busy weekend for them but hopefully they will benefit from it on Sunday.