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Pictured Oisin McConville

Date: Wednesday 5th May 2010

Location: Studio

Photographer: Liam McBurney

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One final hurdle for Kilcoo at Croke Park

Oisin McConville


Kilcoo's Aidan Branigan and Niall Branigan. Credit: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Kilcoo's Aidan Branigan and Niall Branigan. Credit: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Kilcoo's Aidan Branigan and Niall Branigan. Credit: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

They could be said to have lived dangerously lately, yet Kilcoo find themselves in the All-Ireland Club Football Final today determined to write the final chapter in some style in what has been a memorable Championship campaign to date.

When they scraped past Burren in the Down Championship and then made life difficult for themselves against St Peter's, Warrenpoint before coming out on top in the Final, I thought that they might struggle in the Ulster Club Championship.

Yet they reached the decider where they were fully tested by Naomh Conaill before coming out on top and then it was on to the All-Ireland Semi-Final against Ballyboden St Enda's, in which for the second game in succession a second-half goal from Daryl Branagan allowed their followers to breathe more easily.

Kilcoo now face the ultimate test in Croke Park when they take on Galway and Connacht champions Corofin in an All-Ireland Club Final that has a particularly special allure.

Those two most recent victories have raised hopes that Kilcoo can come out on top again.

I feel that their knack of being able to negate what they see as key players in opposing sides and then closing out games has stood to them. In addition, Ryan Johnston's return to form has been a massive boost for them, a real plus to the side's attacking machinery.

I am also considerably impressed by Ryan McEvoy, whose composure and all-round ability belie his teenage years. When you throw in the experience of the five Branagan brothers, the craft of Conor Laverty, the scoring touch of Paul Devlin and the athleticism of Dylan Ward, you can see that Kilcoo have a mix of qualities that should serve them well.

There is no doubt that the fact that Corofin have won the last two All-Ireland titles will give them something of a head start but Kilcoo have a knack of upsetting the odds and doing things their way.

Mickey Moran has provided an extra boost to the side since taking over and has added a little bit of know-how to their play. He would undoubtedly like to get the side over the line but his players will be under immense pressure to achieve this as they will be playing against the current kingpins of club football.

But, believe me, I think Kilcoo can do it. They have become very good at upsetting the odds and that will surely prove an asset in what is the biggest match in their history.

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