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Portaferry's underdogs all set to upset odds yet again

By Declan Bogue

Portaferry's Kevin McGarry believes the St Patrick's club are underdogs as they head into tomorrow's Ulster Club Hurling final against Cushendall (Owenbeg, 2.30pm), but reminds us that it has been the same all year.

In the Antrim leagues this season, Down semi-final opponents Ballygalget defeated them. By the time they were re-acquainted in the championship however, it was a different story with Portaferry winning by over 20 points.

Final opponents Ballycran had been tipped by many to strongly challenge for Ulster, yet Portaferry again upset the odds, winning by a point.

"Every game this year in the championship has been a bonus," says the 29-year-old.

"We were poor in the league so beyond it we just took it one game at a time."

A red card in the Down final actually cost him the chance to play against his former club, Fermanagh's Lisbellaw, in the Ulster semi-final.

He hurled with them for years alongside his four brothers.

As for the Cushendall clash, he says: "Overall, we are going in as underdogs. We are under no illusions. They have massive momentum.

"Fair enough, they have had a drawn game (against Slaughtneil) with extra-time and they had competitive games before that throughout Antrim.

"You have quite a journey to get through the Antrim Championship before you get to the Ulster campaign.

"Whereas you look at ourselves. We beat Ballygalget, beat Ballycran and then the Ulster Championship.

"Take a look at that in contrast to the games that they have had. It's a massive difference and the momentum is definitely with them, no doubt."

Ulster hurling is a small world and McGarry knows exactly what Cushendall have and how they might use it.

He explains: "Their biggest asset is probably their bench."

But strong squad or not, Portaferry will pose Cushendall plenty of problems.

Belfast Telegraph

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