Impressive Smyth and Maginn are highlighting Ulster talent
The Ulster minor football tournament currently being hosted by the St Paul's club in Belfast is not only proving a shop window for some of the most exciting and creative football talent in the province but it is also serving to highlight a high level of sporting versatility.
When St Enda's, Glengormley and Enniskillen Gaels meet in today's quarter-final (1.30pm) they will each boast a player who has gained international soccer honours while others have distinguished themselves at both boxing and golf.
Ciaran Smyth is one of the pillars of the St Enda's side and has played at schoolboy soccer international level for Northern Ireland while the Gaels' defensive anchor Conor Maginn has been capped at U18 level in the same code.
And while both players will bring their respective attributes to the table today, they will be surrounded by talented players who look capable of giving the St Paul's competition enhanced status.
Skipper Odhran Eastwood has been an inspirational force in the St Enda's side this year on their way to reigning supreme in the Antrim championship, in which they beat Creggan Kickhams in the final.
And with the likes of Michael McNamee, Joe Maskey and Conor Lyttle he is surrounded by several particularly talented colleagues who will make them a force to be reckoned with.
Eastwood, a UCD student, is at the heart of St Enda's strategy and can be relied upon to create and take scores in an attack which is endowed with real pace and cohesion.
But the Gaels are well equipped with power and a strong work ethic to meet the St Enda's challenge.
Oliver Beacom, Michael Dooris, Edward Boyd and Neil McDermott are players who are showing a maturity beyond their years and who are capable of dictating the course of a game.
St Paul's chairman Chris Brown believes that this weekend's matches in the tournament will shed considerable light on just where the trophy might come to rest.
"We have the Crossmaglen v Rostrevor match which looks particularly attractive but the game between St Enda's and Enniskillen makes for an interesting clash of styles," he said.
"I think we can look forward to two great games."