SUNDAY will be a massive day for both clubs involved in the Ulster Club decider and come Sunday evening one of them will be crowned champions for the first time in their history.
This will be seen by both as a massive opportunity to get the job done and whoever misses out, the loss will haunt them forever.
I can only speak for our own championship and say that it is extremely difficult to get out of it in one piece so when you get a shot at Ulster it’s important to make the most of it.
Like ourselves last year, Glenties now have a target on their backs with every team in Donegal already back in pre-season training of some sort with the aim to taking them down.
I’m sure that it’s the same story in Down so for Kilcoo and Glenties it’s all about getting the job done now when they are here.
I played in the final last year so this time around I’m going to play manager and tell you how I think both teams can be got at.
Having watched them against Derrygonnelly I got a good idea of how they play and also where they are weak.
For me you have to target their kicking game and block off that avenue as they can be dangerous if this is left open. Once they gain possession they look to deliver early ball inside to Jerome Johnston and Conor Laverty who play up top on their own.
Once you lose possession you must foul the ball or slow them down and give your team time to get back and set up. I expect Glenties to try and stop them early up the pitch to slow them down.
The Branagans at centre-back and wing-back start an awful lot of their attacks so for me they need to be man-marked to curb their influence going forward. Others may be of the opinion that if they are occupied going the other way making them defend then they won’t cause that much damage going forward but for me they need to be man-marked for the whole game.
Kilcoo can be got at under the high ball so I would try get a few long balls pumped into the square and see how things pan out. Height may be an issue in their full-back line so it could be an area to target.
Their most powerful asset is scoreable frees, at least 40% to 50% of their scores come from frees so teams must be squeaky clean in the tackle. Glenties are very good at buying frees at crucial times so it’s critical to stay extremely focused.
Glenties are excellent on their kick-out and on opposition kick-outs. They send four or five players under the break and they sort of cheat as the ’keeper is about to kick the ball they rush underneath it to gain possession. Close down their own kick-out and get your own kick-outs away and you are halfway there.
When playing Glenties you also need to man-mark Ciaran Thompson in midfield and Eoghan McGettigan up front. A bit like the two Kilcoo lads I mentioned earlier, it’s no good just marking them when they are in possession they need to be man-marked for the 60-plus minutes.
Having watched both teams that’s how I would go about trying to disable their threats now to the big question is who will win?
I was impressed at times with Kilcoo but I have major question marks over how they will cope when faced with a blanket defense. Glenties are extremely well drilled and can punish teams if they are sloppy in attack.
Having watched us go the distance last year I’m sure that would have given them the belief that they can also do it. Glenties by three points to keep the title in Donegal for another year.