SILVERBRIDGE Harps are hoping to win their first Armagh Intermediate Club Championship title in 45 years when they face Killeavy on Sunday.
The Harps have already made strides this season having won the Intermediate League and with it promotion to the Senior League and Championship last season.
While it was 1972 when the Harps last lifted the Cup, Killeavy’s success is much more recent as in 2012 their captain Stevie McDonnell lifted the Atty Hearty Cup.
Since then Killeavy have rebuilt a team that have a high work ethic but also a touch of class. James Donnelly and Michael Murphy make a formidable midfield partnership, which should produce an epic battle with Silverbridge’s pairing of Peter Carragher and Brendan Byrnes. Donnelly and Carragher were Armagh Minor team-mates of the All-Ireland winning team of 2009.
Silverbridge have options too as Jarly Og Burns is another fine athlete who oozes confidence under the high ball and evergreen Damian McCann remains focal point for the Harp. If Silverbridge can deliver early ball then McCann and Pauric Keating will be expected to deliver scores.
Silverbridge have a strong panel and competition for places has been tougher than many years before. Sean Garvey, Joe Rock and Paudie Cumiskey are key players and whether they start in the team or on the bench. Players such as Anthony Mallie, Eugene Byrne, Seamus Kelly and Fionnan Burns give the Harps plenty of options and experience.
Killeavy though will be confident of getting a result. As well as their robust midfield they have plenty of speed and power especially with Armagh’s Ciaron O’Hanlon playing at centre half-back, which gives him plenty of scope to burst forward. Jamie Cosgrove and Miceal McNamee were highly decorated with medals at underage level but this season they have helped Killeavy improve.
Cathal Boylan, Donal O’Neill and Caolan McConville are also excellent footballers and could have a big say in Sunday’s Intermediate Club Championship Final.
The south be an all-south Armagh passionate physical battle between two highly skilled footballing teams. As expected it will be hard-hitting but shouldn’t be too cagey as both teams have dangerous forwards and players who can express themselves. Killeavy overcame a tough battle against St Paul’s, whereas Silverbridge were much too strong for Forkhill in the semi-finals. Both teams carry momentum, which should make for a fittingly entertaining finale.
By Steve Malone