Lonesharkoy previews the Ulster Senior Club Football Championship and he is opposing the favourites like Crossmaglen and Slaughtneil with the Donegal side St Eunan's.
Ulster Club SFC
With the exception of Derry and Armagh, not too many counties have a strong track record in the Ulster club championship. Monaghan and Down enjoyed some success going further back in history, largely due to the exploits of Scotstown and Burren respectively. However the competitive nature of the championship hasn’t helped the clubs of Fermanagh, Cavan, Tyrone and Donegal, who’ve enjoyed just three titles between them in the history of the competition.
Another Armagh vs Derry decider is on the cards in 2015 if the odds on offer are to be believed, but while Slaughtneil at 9/2 (Ladbrokes) can be expected to defend their crown with more than a little ferocity, they remain a side for whom low scoring contests are the norm – and that approach opens the door for sides with balanced attacking units to overpower them. Their semi-final win over Bellaghy saw the Derry and Ulster champions open up and cut loose, but tallies of 0-6 (QF vs Ballinascreen) and 1-7 (Final vs Coleraine) would suggest that they are still going to play the game in the same fashion that they did in 2014.
If they are to trip up before the Ulster final, the danger might be out west. The improvements in county standards in Donegal have filtered through to their clubs in recent years and from a situation a decade ago, when a draw against the Donegal champions was the one that everyone wanted, nowadays there are five or six very capable clubs in the county that are capable of holding their own against any opposition.
This Sunday 2014 champions St Eunan’s will put their crown on the line against Naomh Conaill, who beat them in the group stages this year by eleven points, and there is an obvious danger in tipping up either team here since our bet could be knocked over within a couple of days.
Even allowing for this, 16/1 from Boylesports about St Eunan’s winning the Ulster title this year looks like a very solid play. Naomh Conaill may have got one over on the town side already this summer, but Rory Kavanagh and Caolan Ward were both unavailable for that tie, and their return will be a huge boost to St Eunans. Any doubts about their form were blown out of the water in the knockout stages when they easily accounted for two excellent sides in the shape of Glenswilly and St Michaels and although this Sunday will represent a huge test, it’s worth getting on now to get the price.
Naturally the long shadow of Crossmaglen Rangers continues to loom over the province at this time of year and the manner in which the perennial contenders cruised through the Armagh county final would suggest that they’ll be tough opposition yet again, but they appear to have lost a step in recent seasons and no longer look worthy of odds on status at just the quarter final stage of the competition. Expect Kilcoo to cause them huge problems at the semi-final stage if both clubs make it that far, while St Eunans are one of several sides that would be entitled to go into an Ulster final against the famous South Armagh side with plenty of cause for optimism.
1 point win St Eunans to win the Ulster Club SFC at 16/1 with Boylesports