Tyrone triple All Ireland winner Owen Mulligan is nothing if not versatile.
When his club Cookstown found themselves at a numerical disadvantage against Ballymartin in the Ulster Intermediate Club semi-final last weekend following a sending off, Mulligan dropped back to deploy his skills in a defensive context before being replaced in the closing stages having made a generous contribution to his side’s seven-point victory.
But when they take on Monaghan Harps in the semi-final this Sunday at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh (12.45pm), Mulligan is aiming to remain up front and prove a thorn in the Farney team’s defence.
Cookstown’s 2-9 total against Ballymartin testified to their finishing skills and Mulligan, renowned as a goalscorer par excellence, will again be their target man on Sunday.
Harps were taken to the limit by a fired-up Ahoghill side last Sunday and unless then can stifle Mulligan’s rounded skills, their interest in the competition could end.
In the other semi-final, Donegal champions Fanad Gaels hope to build on their quarter-final victory over Armagh title-holders St Michael’s (Newtownhamilton) last week.
This time they meet Cavan champions Lavey at Brewster Park, Enniskillen (2.30pm).
Lavey looked impressive in disposing of Fermanagh representatives Kinawley last Sunday in a tingling contest.
Gaels boss Manus McFadden says: “We don’t know an awful lot about Lavey but the fact that they knocked up fifteen points in beating Kinawley proves they are a useful side.”
Fanad hope to be back at full strength for Sunday afternoon, their resources for the quarter-final having been depleted because of a wedding.
In the Ulster Club Junior Championship semi-finals, Antrim side St Teresa’s — fresh from their fine win over Cavan champions Butlersbridge — will confront Donegal standard-bearers Moville at Brewster Park in Enniskillen (12.45pm).
And in the other semi-final Armagh champions Shane O’Neill’s — conquerors of Derry title-holders Sean Dolans in the last eight — will take on Monaghan kingpins Emyvale at Casement Park (12.45pm).
St Teresa’s mix of youth and experience is proving potent just now while Shane O’Neill’s will feel that they can continue their recent scoring exploits in their search for a place in the decider.