Live score updates on Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh) v Kilcoo (Down), Athletic Grounds, 3pm
The Ulster provincial final of 2012 contains the usual suspect on one side of the draw.
Crossmaglen, are for the tenth time in 17 seasons, preparing for another Ulster final where they have yet to taste defeat in what is a remarkable achievement in any sport. They are beatable, but just never in a final.
The other side of the draw sees Down champions Kilcoo take on the task of loosening Crossmaglen’s tight grip on the Ulster club title this afternoon. Many teams have tried but all have failed to stop the south Armagh side from winning nine Ulster championships and six All-Ireland titles.
Kilcoo are relative newcomers to this stage of the Ulster championship. This year they won only their second county title since 1937 defeating Mayobridge but has gone from strength to strength since that day.
They recorded a very impressive win in the quarter-final, comfortably seeing off Monaghan champions Ballybay (0-13 to 0-7), and then they pulled off one of the upsets of the overall club championship in the semi-final, defeating fancied St. Gall’s (1-9 to 0-10).
Brothers from two sets of families are the cornerstone to the team’s success. Defenders Aaran, Aidan and Niall Branagan are complimented by forwards Paul and Anthony Devlin and lively inter-county star Conor Laverty is the main scoring threat for the Down champions.
Rangers eased their way through the Armagh champions winning title number 16 from the last 17 attempts. They now have over 40 county titles to their name. In Ulster they left Donegal’s St. Eunan’s for dead and smashed past fancied Tyrone side Errigal Ciarán with relative ease (2-10 to 0-10)
The current All-Ireland title holder’s view today’s game as another day at the office as they seek a record-breaking third All-Ireland club title in-a-row, a feat which has never been achieved by anyone.
In reality Kilcoo has nothing to lose by going all-out to defeat the kingpins of club football. Not one pundit believes they stand a chance and the bookies agree. Crossmaglen Rangers are unbackable at 1/8 and although Kilcoo will provide a very-strong challenge today, the lure of third All-Ireland title and history will prove too tempting for the Armagh men to let slip away.