Murphy can see more Ulster fairytales on horizon
Ulster Council secretary Danny Murphy has expressed the view that there is a strong possibility the All-Ireland Club title could remain in the province for another year.
Murphy is urging teams to take a leaf from the book of Crossmaglen Rangers and prove themselves a match for the best in the country.
“I think we are on the cusp of a very exciting Ulster Club series,” points out Murphy.
“Already we have champions crowned in five counties and, draws permitting, we will have three more title-winners this weekend. The jigsaw will be complete when the Tyrone final between Dromore and Clonoe is staged on Sunday week.”
And he is convinced that the Ulster series now holds particular appeal.
“There is no doubt that the Ulster Club Championship has acquired added status in recent years,” stresses Murphy.
“Crowds are bigger, the matches are much more intense and clubs now have a massive incentive to succeed because of the profile of the series and the potential rewards it can provide.”
St Gall’s, Glenswilly, Roslea, Cavan Gaels and Latton are the teams who are already through to the club championship series.
On Saturday night reigning Down champions Burren, with Kevin McKernan, Daniel McCartan, Declan Rooney and James McGovern bolstering their challenge, will put their title on the line against Clonduff who stunned fancied Kilcoo in their semi-final while Crossmaglen Rangers will oppose surprise packet Ballymacnab in the Armagh decider on Sunday.
And there is considerable appeal in the meeting of Ballinderry and newcomers Kilrea in the Derry shoot-out also on Sunday.
Murphy, who has helped to pioneer a strong drive to market the Ulster Club series, believes that these finals will show football in the province in the best possible light. “These are all difficult games to call and that’s what makes them so attractive. Some of the leading county players will be in action in all the games,” states Murphy.
While Ulster teams may not have particularly distinguished themselves in the National League and in the All-Ireland championship, Murphy believes that the All-Ireland Club series could prove fertile ground for at least one side from the province.
“I think club football in Ulster is in a very healthy state,” said Murphy.