Fr Rock’s hopes in safe hands

James Mc Gahan and Niall Mc Ginn contend for the free ball. Photos by Damien Mc Anespie. INTT4212-714DCA
James Mc Gahan and Niall Mc Ginn contend for the free ball. Photos by Damien Mc Anespie. INTT4212-714DCA

Ulster Intermediate Club Championship

Cookstown Fr Rocks v Killeavy (Armagh)

Athletic Grounds, Armagh

Sunday 4th November, 2.30pm

ONE OF THE most eagerly anticipated ties in the Ulster Intermediate championship in a number of years is pencilled in for Sunday afternoon at the Athletic Grounds.

The meeting of Cookstown and Armagh champions, Killeavy pits two of the fancied for this year’s title together in the first round.

Cookstown were All Ireland champions at this grade in 2010 having won the Tyrone and Ulster titles of 2010 and they will be confident of further success under their current manager John McKeever.

Killeavy are currently plying their trade in the top division of Armagh league football and have plenty of seasoned senior footballers amongst their ranks, most notably former Orchard sharp-shooter Stephen McDonnell.

Indeed such has been the form of the south Armagh club this season they currently find themselves third in the Armagh senior league!

The man who will stand in the way of Killeavy on Sunday is undaunted however and looking forward to the game.

“Any game in Ulster is going to be a big ask, but we, probably like Killeavy, go into the game with great belief in our team.

“We have great respect for any opposition who has made it this far, but that will all change at the start of the match.

“Realistically you can come up against some champions who are better than their intermediate status would tell you, but we feel we have a good enough team to beat anyone.

“There is a lot of talk about Stephen McDonnell, but they will not be a one man band anymore than ourselves. We have done, and continue to do our homework on Killeavy, but it is more about what we do that will define the outcome of the game.”

On his team’s chances in the provincial championship, Rea is bullish in his belief that Fr. Rocks can go all the way.

“I can only refer to a few years ago when we were last at this stage and every team we encountered were super. All we can do is take each one as they come. We were a bit older last time we were here but we have replaced those men with people like James McGahan who has been a star both for club and county this year - and I could name ten more like him.

“The key will be our strength off the bench. We have real impact there in players like Brian Mulligan and Marty McVey. In the county final we were lacklustre in the last ten minutes, and down a man, and when we needed something they came on and made it happen. Three subs came on and they all scored.”

The Armagh side also feature among their ranks a number of up and coming star in Armagh football including the likes of James Donnelly and Kealan Downey.

They were impressive winners of the county title beating St Peter’s in the final on a scoreline of 0-13 to 0-8, with Stephen McDonnelly accounting for 0-8 of Killeavy’s total