Kevin Cassidy

KEVIN CASSIDY: Trillick’s laser-like focus paid off

Trillick upset the applecart last weekend, meaning at the Tyrone Senior Football Championship remains the hardest club championship in the land to retain.

Heading into that game, all the talk was about Errigal Ciaran and how they would do back-to-back in Tyrone this year, something that hasn’t been done in close to 20 years.

Great credit must go to this Trillick side because they turned in an awesome performance to regain the title that they so dearly wanted.

They came down to us here in Gaoth Dobhair to spend a weekend for a team bonding session in Teach Mhici. You can tell an awful lot about a team just by watching them and how they prepare for training never mind the actual training itself.

It was clear to me that day that this was a team who were laser focused on their goals and they backed it up last weekend when it mattered most.

With all of the club championships now complete we head into the Ulster Club series which throws in this weekend.

When you glance across the teams that are in the competition you cannot but get excited about what may happen over the next few weeks.

When you list off the names of the clubs in the competition – Crossmaglen, Trillick, Kilcoo, Glen and the likes, it’s a real who’s who of club football and in the province.

Then you have Derrygonnelly who are nearly an ever-present in this competition and our own county champions Glenties who will also take some stopping.

Naturally, everyone will look at the likes of Kilcoo and Glen given their recent history in the competition, but I’d like to think that our champions here in Donegal in particularly might have a lot to say about that.

The Ulster Club competition is a funny one because it’s all about winning your first game. Once you win your first then the seas part and you can see your path to the final, so at training you get a real sense of belief within the squad.

The special thing about this competition is that you get paired against teams who you may never have played against, and with each county adopting different styles and tactics at club level, it makes for interesting viewing.

If we take the game between Cavan champions Gowna and Donegal champions Naomh Conaill, this gives us the perfect example of what I’m talking about.

Club football here in Donegal is extremely tactical and the top teams have a very rigid structure which is very hard to play against.

Now I don’t know much about Gowna, as I haven’t seen them much in recent years, but I just know that they will struggle to play against that sort of system and I expect the Glenties men to grind them down to book their place in the next round.

When you play in a club championship that operates like that, where all of the teams are set up tactically, and they are all structurally sound then you figure out ways of playing against it.

If you come from another county, where perhaps teams are not set up as tactically, then by the time you figure things out, the game could be over.

The opening fixture in the competition sees Fermanagh champions, Derrygonnelly paired against Down kingpins Kilcoo. It’s a home game for Derrygonnelly, in Brewster Park, but I have a feeling they will need more than home advantage for this one.

The Fermanagh champions are experienced in this competition and they have taken Kilcoo close on a number of occasions, but after watching Kilcoo’s pace and power in their county final win I think they will be hard to stop.

The difference with Kilcoo compared to most other sides is that their championship starts now.

No disrespect to the Down Championship, but these lads have been building all year for Ulster and not the Down Championship.

When you compare that to most other teams, who might see themselves in bonus territory now, then that is a massive advantage to have.

I’ll go for Kilcoo by five this weekend.

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