Mayobridge ace Coulter gunning for Kilcoo upset
Long-serving Down ace Benny Coulter is hoping to enjoy more success as a player than he has done recently as a manager when he lines out for Mayobridge in the Down senior football championship semi-final against reigning champions Kilcoo on Friday.
Coulter was in charge of the Mayobridge side that lost to Kilcoo in the reserve championship last week-end despite the best efforts of 50-year-old All-Ireland winner Mickey Linden who fulfilled the role of substitute in his side.
Now Coulter will find himself once again confronting Kilcoo only this time as a player in a last four showdown that has caught the imagination of the entire county.
Kilcoo will not surprisingly go into the game as favourites but Coulter is optimistic that Mayobridge's amalgam of youth and experience might prove sufficient to get them into the final against either Burren or Saval, who will meet on Sunday.
"While it was obviously disappointing to have lost that reserve championship match, it showed that we have some good young players coming through," maintains Coulter.
Mayobridge are boosted by the fact that Conor Garvey is back in action having recovered from a serious eye injury while Cory Quinn is in explosive form in their attack having scored 2-2 in the 3-8 to 2-9 win over Loughinisland, a game in which Coulter himself registered 1-1.
Jim McCorry, who guided Kilcoo to the Down title last year and is now aiming for back to back successes, will look to the combined skills of Conor Laverty, Darragh O'Hanlon, Gary McEvoy, Paul Greenan, Paul Devlin and Anthony Devlin to inspire his side.
Paul Devlin, 22, in particular is becoming a top-class playmaker, bringing out the best in those around him while Laverty, a first-choice Down player, is one of the best forwards in the province.
Apart from wishing to be crowned county champions, both clubs share a burning desire to get the opportunity to make a strong bid for the Ulster Club title, an accolade that has eluded Mayobridge in particular.