Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Greenan is pushing for Ulster clubs to get hands on Irish title

The AIB All Ireland Club title has gone to Connacht during each of the past three seasons.

And that's a trend that Ulster Council chairman Micheal Greenan wants to see arrested.

Not because he has anything against Connacht but because he feels it's high time that the northern province reigned supreme at national level again on the club front.

"We have just had a very exciting Ulster Club Championship during which we had several superb matches. I think the time is ripe for Ulster to move back to the top again," says Greenan.

Connacht's dominance of the All Ireland Club scene has been shared by three different clubs - Caltra (2004), Crossmolina (2005) and Ballina Stephenites (2006).

And it is no coincidence that during this period Mayo, home to both the Crossmolina and Ballina sides, have been there or thereabouts when the destination of the Bank of Ireland All Ireland senior football championship title was being decided.

But with Crossmaglen Rangers manager Donal Murtagh facing serious worries over the fitness of Aaron Kernan and Francie Bellew in advance of their All Ireland semi-final against St Brigid's (Roscommon) in February, Greenan's optimism in relation to an Ulster triumph must be tempered with realism.

The AIB Ulster Club title last came to Ulster in 2002 when current Donegal manager Brian McIver took Ballinderry Shamrocks all the way.

Crossmaglen Rangers had previously won three All Ireland prizes (1997, '99 and 2001) and now manager Murtagh, who played in those triumphs as a resolute full-back, would certainly relish the job of playing a leading role in a fourth success.

"We have taken a little time out to enjoy our Ulster title success but immediately after Christmas it will be full steam ahead for the semi-final," says Murtagh.

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