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Kilcoo eager to make impact on provincial stage at last: Devlin

 

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
John Campbell

By John Campbell

Paul Devlin has been at the heart of Kilcoo's dominance of the Down Senior Football Championship over the course of the past decade.

Since 2009, the club has won the title on eight occasions yet the Ulster Club Championship crown has remained frustratingly elusive.

Tomorrow, having regained their status as Down's top team after a one-year hiatus when they were dislodged by Burren, Kilcoo will launch what Devlin describes as "an all-out bid" to finally prove top dogs on the provincial stage.

They now come up against a fresh challenge with new Derry champions O'Donovan Rossa, Magherafelt in the opposite corner at Pairc Esler, Newry (2.30pm).

"We knew in the closing stages against Warrenpoint in the Down final that we had it in our legs to come out on top but at the same time it was hard going," maintained Devlin. "Now we want to make an all-out bid for success in Ulster." .

Along with Aidan Branagan, Ryan Johnston, Niall Branagan, Jerome Johnston and skipper Conor Laverty, Devlin helps to form the backbone of a Kilcoo side which is noted for its resilience and staying power.

They will undoubtedly come under fire from an O'Donovan Rossa side which in overcoming Glen in the Derry Championship final showed considerable resolve and indomitable spirit.

Magherafelt boss Adrian Cush has been laying his plans carefully with particular emphasis on getting his match-ups right.

Cush believes he is aware from where the greatest threats within the Kilcoo ranks will come and is keeping his fingers crossed that his defence in particular will be on top of their game.

Should this prove the case, then players such as Emmet McGuckin, Danny Heavron, Cormac Murphy, Conor Kearns and Shane Heavron look capable of posing problems for Kilcoo.

Meanwhile, the Ulster Junior Championship semi-finals will take place today with Blackhill (Monaghan) meeting Killinkere (Cavan) at Armagh (5pm) and Buncrana (Donegal) taking on Rock (Tyrone) at Celtic Park.

In tomorrow's Intermediate Championship quarter-finals, Kinawley will meet Glenn at Enniskillen (12.30pm), Magheracloone will take on Foreglen at Inniskeen (2.30pm), Galbally will face Laragh Utd (Omagh, 2.30pm) and St Games' Aldergrove will host St Naul's (Donegal) at Corrigan Park (2.30pm).

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