Ulster duo aiming to upset odds in bid to have their final say
St Enda's, Glengormley and Eoghan Rua, Coleraine could be forgiven for thinking that they have been projected to the cutting edge of All-Ireland Club hurling.
While both are delighted to have won the Ulster intermediate and junior club titles respectively, the fact that they must now confront Kilkenny opponents in today's All-Ireland Club semi-finals provides confirmation as to just how hard the road to further honours will prove.
In overcoming Eoghan Ruadh in their provincial decider, St Enda's showed character and courage and they will need these qualities and more besides if they are to get the better of a strong Tullaroan side at Parnell Park, Dublin (1.30pm).
Manager Terence 'Sambo' McNaughton has inculcated considerable self-belief into the side and with John McGoldrick, Philly Curran, Joe Maskey and Ruairi Donaghy ready to lead from the front, they will not lack energy.
Maskey is among several players in the side also proficient at football and indeed he shared in the club's success last year when the Ulster Intermediate Club Championship title came their way.
"It's great to be going into an All-Ireland Club hurling semi-final this time round and there is a real desire on the part of all the players to come good. We know we will be facing very tough opponents indeed but that's what you expect when you get to this level of any competition," pointed out Maskey.
Goalkeeper Martin Curran saved four of five penalties in the tense shoot-out which decided the Glengormley side's Ulster Club final against Eoghan Ruadh, Dungannon but he hopes the team can avoid another helping of such drama today.
"I recall last year that the hurlers were envious of the club's footballers when they were winning the Ulster title but now the shoe is on the other foot," smiled Curran.
While the St Enda's side prepare to mount a strong push to reach the intermediate All-Ireland Club final, Eoghan Rua, Coleraine will be no less committed in their bid to book their place in the All-Ireland junior final.
They also meet Kilkenny opposition in the form of Connachy Shamrocks today at Inniskeen (1.30pm) but they will not be embarking on their mission cap in hand - not with the likes of Sean Leo McGoldrick, Niall Holly, Thomas Magee, Ruairi Mooney, Dara Mooney and Ciaran McGoldrick to set the tone for their display.
Sean Leo McGoldrick is perhaps better known for his feats with the Derry senior football team in the past but in scoring 11 points in Coleraine's 1-16 to 0-11 win over Newry Shamrocks in the Ulster final, he underlined his flamboyant finishing skills in the hurling sphere.
If they can keep their opponents in check in the first half, Eoghan Rua will have a fighting chance.