Read the previews of this weekend’s championship action.
Senior Football Championship final
Creggan v Cargin
Sunday, Portglenone, 2.30pm
BY RONAN SCOTT
Creggan’s footballers are hoping that they can bring some joy to a club that has suffered some hard times.
The Coronavirus pandemic has forced everyone into their homes for the past six months, and in Creggan they’ve not seen a football championship in the club for almost half a century.
This weekend they hope to change the mood when they take on their rivals Cargin in the decider.
Conor McCann said: “What is important is to bring some joy and positivity into Creggan in a time that has been difficult for a lot of people.
“In the same way our camogs did last week. Our main goal is to win the senior championship and bring some excitement into the community.”
The club has enjoyed success in the form of Camogie championships and hurling titles. Yet success at senior level for the footballers has eluded them. That’s an issue.
“Our club has had great success at underage, at minor and u21.
“There is an expectation that there is a senior championship in the club. We thrive on that. We want to get that first success. We want to get that off our back. There hasnt been a lot of success.”
The club last won a senior football title back in the 50s
“It’s been a long time for Creggan. We are a closeknit communty. There is an expectation but expectation means nothing if we aren’t able to go out and achieve.
“We would love to join that illustrious group who won in the past.
“We would be joining a small group of players.”
A win would bring joy to the club, and excitement but it would also help with their future.
“It means everything to this club. As a group of players we are excited.
“I am 26 years old and this will be my eighth year playing club senior football. Big days like this are few and far between.
“We would like to inspire the next group.”
Two years ago, Creggan reached the county final but were beaten by Cargin. There were lessons learnt that day.
“We have that experience of playing on a county final day. It is easy to get caught up in it. Supporters are fantastic and want to get chatting. Players need to step away from that. This year we are more settled. We are confident in our own ability.”
Yet they have a tough test in front of them against a Cargin side who are going for their third title in a row.
“We are facing stiff opposition. Cargin are our local rivals. We are familiar with them. They are only up the road.
“There is no arguing that they have been the most dominant team in Antrim football over the last number of years
“They are a very well drilled team. They are always very organised and very fit. Damian Cassidy has them in fantastic shape. The best shape in terms of a Cargin team. They have a strong panel of players. And some fantastic individuals who have represented Antrim. We will go in to the game and respect them.”
Cargin will have Michael McCann available to them. His participation was in doubt after he received a red card in the semi-final but that was overturned.
What they also have is a fully fit Kevin O’Boyle who is facing into his first county final in years, having been injured for the previous two campaigns.
Cargin beat Rossa in the quarter-finals and then Lamh Dhearg in the semi-finals.
Creggan’s passage saw them defeat a strong Naomh Éanna team, and then Portglenone in the semi-finals.
McCann said that the campaign has been strange.
“We sat down at the start of the year and our goal was to win the championship and obviously cirumstances dictated that the way we were able to get here. It has been strange.
“It was a champions league format in Antrim. We played Ahoghill and Portglenone twice before getting through to the quarter-final. That was against St Enda’s down in Dunsilly. Then we played Portglenone in the semi-final. Everyone knows what they have done as a club in the past few years. They have taken teams to replays and coming back from the brink. We were aware of that. We hit them with a sucker punch of a goal. Then we won the kickout and hit them with another goal. That put them out.”
Now they are one step away from bringing glory back to the club.
Antrim Intermediate football
Dunloy v Moneyglass
Saturday, Dunsilly, 4pm
Dunloy are going for back to back championship wins for the mens game this weekend. Last weekend they annexed the hurling, and now they are going for the football.
They have a handful of lads who are dual players so they will either be feeling the momentum or exhausted after a week’s celebration.
Moneyglass won all five of their group games, and that included a 1-13 to 2-8 result against Dunloy.
That result suggests that they might have the advantage this weekend.
Antrim Junior football championship
Pearses v St Comgall’s
Saturday, Ballymena, 1pm
Pearses won three out of their four games played in the group stages. If there is a concern for them then it is that they tended to concede a lot. They shipped 2-4 against McQuillans, 3-6 against St Malachy’s and 1-14 against St Agnes’s. St Comgall’s are goal hunters and scored nine goals in three matches. That could be crucial.
Verdict: St Comgall’s