Neil Loughran previews the Down SFC county final where Carryduff will be huge outsiders against Mickey Moran’s Kilcoo.
Kilcoo are raging hot favourites to win an eighth Down SFC title in nine years this Sunday.
The men in black and white regained their crown from St Mary’s Burren last season, and went on an amazing journey to Croke Park thereafter.
En route, they claimed a first ever Ulster final win, and pushed Corofin all the way to extra time in the All-Ireland club final.
As they chase an 18th county title win, standing in their way is a club that has never been here before: Carryduff.
Irish News writer Neil Loughran explains that the odds are very much stacked against the underdogs, in what looks a David-v-Goliath clash.
“If you were looking at it completely black and white, it’s very hard to make a case for a team in their first senior final against a team as seasoned as Kilcoo,” he says.
“Ulster champions and the definition of seasoned is Kilcoo.
“I know they were convincing winners against Warrenpoint (in the semi-final) but they just have this unbelievable ability to grind games out, which we saw all through last year.
“It’s hard to make a case for Carryduff but there are a few different factors at play.
“A lot of people would have seen the Warrenpoint game as the de facto final, and you wonder how much that would get into the psyche of Kilcoo, if at all.
“Warrenpoint had beaten Kilcoo earlier in the championship to send them through the back door, and there was a story within that in the semi-final.
“Carryduff have certainly never played Kilcoo in the senior championship that I can recall and I think I saw them a month ago against Clonduff, who would have expected to be in a final ahead of Carryduff and they were far too good for them that night and it felt like men against boys.
“But Carryduff have won the last two Under-21 championship and I’m sure sure any club has more players on the Down panel… they’re a young side that has a lot of promise.”