GIVEN how the group stages of the Ulster Intermediate Championship played out, expect Sunday’s final in Owenbeg between Antrim and Tyrone to go the distance.
That’s been the way of it. Three games played – Monaghan were the other side involved – and an average winning margin of three points. The provincial championship has had a few names swapping around this year, but competitive football has firmly backed up those changes.
The first meeting between these two sides earlier this month went in Tyrone’s favour, but it took a late Grainne Rafferty goal and a fine contribution off the bench from Aoife McGahan to see Sean O’Kane’s side home.
Caitlin Campbell, Caoime Magee, skipper Aoibhinn McHugh, Rafferty, McGahan, Emma Hegarty and Meabh Corrigan all impressed for the victors in Belfast.
Antrim, meanwhile, plundered four goals with Grainne McLaughlin, Caitlin Taggart, Lara Dahunsi and Laura Agnew all finding the net.
Both sides were already through to the decider by that stage following narrow win over the Oriel County, so there was a bit of experimentation in both camps.
Tyrone made seven changes from the side that had defeated Monaghan while the Antrim team-sheet was missing a few names, most notably Orlaith Prenter who has emerged as one of Ulster’s top forwards over the last two seasons.
Antrim, last year’s All-Ireland Junior champions, had never won a match at Ulster Intermediate level before, but they took care of that this season. They can secure another first this weekend too as they have the ammunition to get over the line and add to their ever-increasing trophy cabinet.