St Gall's manager Lenny Harbinson knew he was in a no-win situation when his team met Moneyglass in the last round of the Antrim Senior Football Championship.
Harbinson was aware that the general perception was not if his side would win but by how many.
In the event the reigning county, Ulster and All Ireland champions made it into Sunday’s semi-final against St John’s at Casement Park (8pm) but Harbinson will now be seeking a much improved performance.
Sean Burke and CJ McGourty are expected to be in action this time round having been in the United States recently but Kevin McGourty is out because of a foot injury. Harbinson though can still look to players like Sean Kelly, Anto Healy, Aodhan Gallagher, Colin Brady, Rory Gallagher, Ronan Gallagher and Karl Stewart to fire up his team.
St John’s, boasting a proud tradition in the Antrim Championship but without a crown since 1998, have been looking purposeful lately. Brian McFall, Kevin McGlinchey and Liam Millar are among the players who have been helping to enhance their image and they now lead the challenge against a St Gall’s side that still have the scent of success in their nostrils.
Aaron Douglas, who has made a big impression in Antrim’s colours lately, is out, however, with a broken bone in his foot and his imposing presence will be missed at the heart of the Johnnies defence. Simon McDonagh has been showing up well as have Brian Neeson and Adrian Oliver.
Earlier on Sunday, Cargin will continue their bid to replicate their 2006 triumph when they face St Brigid’s at Creggan (3pm).
Cargin wrapped up the league title some weeks ago and their brisk, business-like approach this season suggests that they are keen to knock St Gall’s off their pedestal — if they get the chance, that is.
For now, they are focused on a St Brigid’s team built around Antrim aces Dara Edwards, Deaghlan O’Hagan and James Loughrey.
Cargin’s line-up is akin to a who’s who of Antrim football with Tony Scullion, the McCann brothers Michael and Tómas, Kevin O’Boyle, Justin Crozier, Ciaran Close and Gerard O’Boyle all in the side.
Cargin have also snapped up the O’Cahan Cup but they clearly covet the county championship accolade, having had to play second fiddle for St Gall’s for a protracted period.
St Brigid’s, not so long ago plying their trade in the lower regions of the Antrim league, will certainly not find the going easy.