Watty Graham's Glen tipped for stunning four in a row
Watty Graham's, Glen are the undisputed kings of minor club football in Ulster.
For the past three years the Maghera outfit has reigned supreme in the provincial minor club tournament hosted annually by St Paul's in Belfast so it's no great surprise to see them installed as favourites to make it four in a row when this year's event swings into top gear today.
Watty Graham's, though, will meet Antrim champions O'Donovan Rossa at the St Paul's complex on Shaw's Road (12.30pm) conscious that they face a particularly stiff task.
O'Donovan Rossa looked impressive in dominating the Antrim series and even though they have injury worries, they boast strength in depth.
"While we have problems, we have no intention of making it easy for Watty Graham's. What they have achieved in recent years is quite remarkable but we won't be standing back to admire them," states O'Donovan Rossa manager Domhnaill O'Neill.
The Glen side contains not only players who have pocketed as many as three Ulster club medals but who have also gained MacRory Cup and Hogan Cup honours.
Into this category come players like Conor Glass, Danny Tallon and Cathal Mulholland and this will serve to make the task of O'Donovan Rossa even more difficult.
Also today Tyrone champions Moortown St Malachy's will take on Cavan representatives Eastern Gaels in what should be a cracker at The Dub (3.00pm).
The O'Neill County side will look to James Devlin and Jack McGuigan to provide inspiration from midfield while Conal McVey is a creative force at centrethreequarters and their full-forward line is laced with potential.
Eastern Gaels are formed from the Gowna and Lacken clubs, neither of which boasts a minor side. The Gaels include quality players in David Wilson, Thomas Galligan and Paul Leddy and are noted for defensive frugality.
Fermanagh's Erne Gaels take on Monaghan's Donaghmoyne at St Paul's tomorrow (1.30pm).
Long-serving St Paul's official Billy McLarnon confirms that with new sponsor Kukri on board, the tournament has been given a new lease of life.
"There is great quality in the sides that will be competing for the trophy this year and I think there are some tremendous games in prospect over the next few weeks," he points out.