Ulster Club SFC: Kilcoo 'massive favourites' for semi-final - Derrygonnelly captain Jones

Conor Laverty will be a key man as Kilcoo look to overcome Derrygonnelly
Conor Laverty will be a key man as Kilcoo look to overcome Derrygonnelly
Ulster Club Senior Football Championship semi-final
Date: Sunday, 17 November Throw-in: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Match report on the BBC Sport website and highlights programme on BBC iPlayer from Monday evening.

Derrygonnelly Harps are looking forward to the challenge of facing 'massive favourites' Kilcoo in the Ulster Club SFC semi-final, says Ryan Jones.

Fermanagh champions Derrygonnelly take on Down kingpins Kilcoo at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh on Sunday.

"Kilcoo are the more experienced side," said Derrygonnelly captain Jones.

"They've got quality throughout their team and a manager in Mickey Moran, who's been there and done it, so they'll be massive favourites."

Kilcoo, who beat Warrenpoint to clinch their 17th Down SFC title, outlined their provincial credentials during an impressive 1-11 to 0-9 win over Derry champions Magherafelt at Pairc Esler earlier this month.

In that game, a ruthless second-half display helped power Kilcoo past Magherafelt as Jerome Johnston scored the game's only goal six minutes after the break.

Despite Kilcoo's firepower and considerable provincial experience - they were beaten finalists against Slaughtneil in 2016 - Jones says Derrygonnelly, who overcame Tyrone champions Trillick in an historic penalty shootout in their last-eight encounter, will relish the challenge.

"At times against Trillick, our experience did count," he said.

"We'll respect Kilcoo for sure, some of the players they have are exceptional.

"But we have to go and belief in ourselves as well. We've already played two really good teams in Cargin and Trillick - Kilcoo will probably be a step-up again but our boys will look forward to that."

Watch Derrygonnelly's historic shootout win in Ulster Club SFC tie

Kilcoo 'very hungry' this year - Ward

Derrygonnelly will have to overcome a Kilcoo side whose hunger for provincial glory is as intense as ever, according to Dylan Ward.

Ward scored the only goal in the Down decider against Warrenpoint and says Kilcoo are determined to finally end their wait for a first Ulster title.

"We're very hungry this year," said Ward.

"We certainly are good enough and we're getting better. The hunger is pushing us on.

"People are always going to say that [that we've had our chance], and they're always going to put us down but we keep rising above the challenges."

Sole focus is on semi-final - McManus

Conor McManus helped Monaghan champions Clontibret overcome Crossmaglen in the quarter-final
Conor McManus helped Monaghan champions Clontibret overcome Crossmaglen in the quarter-final

Another side looking for their maiden Ulster championship, Monaghan champions Clontibret - who saw off stalwarts Crossmaglen Rangers last time out - face Donegal's Naomh Conaill on Saturday night.

With a place in the provincial decider dangling tantalisingly above them, Conor McManus insists they can ill afford to look beyond the challenge of the Donegal champions at Healy Park.

"For us, at the minute, the end of the journey is the semi-final," said three-time All Star McManus.

"In the Ulster Club Championship, you can't look any further than your next game. Any team that comes into the Ulster has quality."

Ulster Club Senior Football Championship semi-finals
Clontibret O'NeillsvNaomh Conaill (Saturday, 19:00 GMT)
Derrygonnelly HarpsvKilcoo (Sunday, 15:00 GMT)

Top Stories

Also in NI Sport