By Shaun Casey
BREDAGH know all about an Ulster final build up and the buzz that surrounds the entire club leading up to the decider. They’ve been here before.
Back in 2021, Nicky McCafferty’s side reached the showpiece but after a replay, Ulster kingpins Donaghmoyne proved too strong.
This year, instead of focusing all their attentions on making it to that stage once again, they’ve taken the step-by-step approach.
“Last year we came out of the county and had a target set of getting back to the Ulster final and we maybe took our eye off the ball of what it takes to get to an Ulster final,” said McCafferty.
“Really, I suppose we let ourselves down a little bit against Moneyglass (in the first round). It was a big day for us, a big occasion in Cherryvale, there had never been an Ulster game played in Cherryvale.
“From that point of view, probably losing out in the first round hurt as much as losing the Ulster final in 2021. All of those experiences are important and we’re just thrilled to be back in the final and we’ll really give it a rattle.
“It’s a novel final because if truth be told, at the outset it would have taken a good one to predict a Clann Éireann and Bredagh Ulster final. But no team reaches a final without hard work and endeavour and Clann Eireann will be no different to us in that respect.
“From our point of view, the girls have really responded well to Mark (Doran) and Brendy’s (McVey) training and coaching. As a management team, the three of us have been really delighted that the girls have really responded to two really tough years.
“They really want to put the last two years to bed and have given this their best efforts, as Clann Éireann will as well of course. We’re delighted to be back in the final. Last year was really disappointing when we lost to Moneyglass in the first round.
“We started the year with a view that we had no expectations, and the mantra was to take it one game at a time during the league and go at it and see where it takes us. The girls have worked really hard and here we are, just thrilled to be back in the final.
“There’s a couple of things going on in the club but really our focus as a group is to focus on getting ourselves well prepared. As a group we’re really looking forward to the final.
He continued: “The girls were saying the other night that it’s a real honour to represent Bredagh and to represent your county as well. It’s even better now in an Ulster final when the team that you’re playing is from our great rivals Armagh.
“I know Clann Éireann will see it no differently than ourselves. They’ve worked very hard to get to the final, so it all adds up. It’s going to be a cracking game of football and it should be a brilliant advertisement for the ladies game in Ulster.”
Some of the Clann Éireann names jump right off the team sheet and while Bredagh have never come up against the Lurgan ladies before, McCafferty is well aware of what Greg McGonigle’s girls are capable of.
Clodagh McCambridge, an All-Star nomination for her performances with Armagh this season, put the shackles on Antrim star Orlaith Prenter the last day out as Clann Éireann saw off Moneyglass in the semi-final.
Cait Towe, Tiarna Grimes along with Niamh and Dearbhla Coleman have all represented Armagh in recent years while the experience of Niamh Henderson and Maebh Moriarty are key to Clann Éireann’s hopes as well.
“You do your homework on teams, and you respect teams for the quality that they have,” added McCafferty. “ With the Coleman sisters and the Henderson sisters, we’re under no illusions that we’re going up against a team that are there very much on merit.
“They had an outstanding performance against Moneyglass to get their place. It’s two strong teams and we’re probably very similar in that there’s a lot of good experience and a lot of youth in both teams.
“On the day of the final, you never really know how people are going to react to it and like Clann Éireann, we’ll have our girls prepared. We want to give our best on the day and may the best team win.”