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Brothers in arms aim to fire Kilcoo to Ulster title

By John Campbell

The family flavour that is indigenous in most GAA teams is perhaps rather more pronounced in the Kilcoo side that is currently focused on breaking new ground.

The five Branagan brothers - Eugene, Darryl, Niall, Aaron and Aidan - have all played a part in taking the club to their fifth successive Down Senior Football Championship with a little help from the Devlins, the Johnstons, the Kanes and other assorted family connections.

But while the team's authority in the Mourne County is imposing, the Ulster club title still remains an elusive goal.

When they step out against Monaghan champions Scotstown in the preliminary round of the provincial series at St Tiernach's Park, Clones on Sunday, Kilcoo will be focused on trying to write a further chapter in their history.

The Ulster club title has yet to come to rest in this homely club, and defender Aidan Branagan is among those who is particularly anxious to see that change.

His feet, however, remain planted firmly on the ground.

"We're not thinking about anybody else, we're just thinking of the game in front of us," says Branagan.

"At the start of the year we sat down and outlined our ambition to try and win five Down titles in a row.

"That was our target, and anything that comes after this we would regard as a bonus."

The surprise exit of Crossmaglen Rangers from the Armagh Championship has leant a fresh dimension to the hotly contested Ulster series with several sides now optimistic that they can perhaps mount the provincial throne.

There's no crystal ball gazing among the grounded Kilcoo fraternity, though.

"Our manager Paul McIver and his selectors are a real driving force, but we know that the standard of play in the Ulster club competition has always been high and it will certainly be no different this year," asserts Branagan.

"It's the best competition there is at club level and it's just great to be involved in it," explains Branagan.

"It's also nice to be playing alongside my brothers within this Kilcoo side."

Belfast Telegraph

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