By Shaun Casey
JUST a few months ago heading towards the end of the summer, Nicky McCafferty took his Bredagh ladies down to take on Errigal Ciaran, who would go on to defend their Tyrone title, in a challenge game.
Fast-forward to Sunday afternoon (Dunmoyle, 2pm) and it’s Errigal Ciaran that stand in Bredagh’s way of reaching their second Ulster final in three years. For Errigal Ciaran, they’re targeting a first Ulster final appearance since 2007.
“It was a really close contest and both teams went at it so there’s nothing to suggest that it’s going to be any different in terms of a really competitive semi-final,” said Bredagh boss McCafferty.
“What we’d take from it is that we really have to bring our ‘A’ game to Errigal next Sunday, there’s no scope for error whatsoever.
“They are a very good, very well drilled team and it will take us to have the performance of the season to make sure that we make sure that we try and get into the final.
“We’re not even thinking of a final, we’re just thinking of Errigal. As you would expect from any Tyrone team, we’re going to get our fill of it, and they’ll be up for it – as will we.”
Down had great success on the national stage this year, winning the All-Ireland Junior title, beating Limerick in Croke Park, and McCafferty can call upon such talents as Orla and Laoise Duffy, Aoife Laverty and Vivienne McCormack from the starting team that day.
“From our point of view, with Down winning the Junior All-Ireland, it’s a real honour for Bredagh to be representing the county going into an Ulster semi-final. We have plenty of motivation as do Errigal, so it makes for a really good contest,” added McCafferty.
McCafferty’s Bredagh side overcame Fermanagh champions Kinawley 4-11 to 0-5 in the Ulster quarter-final, and he believes that the provincial championship is blown wide open, although warns that his team will be taking the competition one game at a time.
Kingpins Donaghmoyne, who have contested the last 18 finals in a row, winning 14 including an extra-time victory over Bredagh in 2021, were knocked out by Moneyglass the last day out, leaving the remaining four teams dreaming of Ulster Championship success.
“Semi-finals are strange things but with Donaghmoyne getting beat, I suppose you have to pay tribute to the Donaghmoyne ladies because they’ve really set the high bar for ladies football,” explained the Bredagh boss.
“As a result of their success, all the other senior teams in Ulster knew what they had to do to get to the standard of Donaghmoyne. It really makes it now that there are two mouthwatering semi-finals.
“The whole things is really opened up now and all four teams will feel that they can go all the way. The other three teams will be the same as ourselves, and we just have to focus solely on the next game and for us that’s Errigal.”