Clan na Gael and Clann Eireann will meet this Friday night at the St Peter’s ground in what should be an enthralling Intermediate Championship first round game.
Clann Eireann, who have completed all of their league games, have finished the season with a rattle having struggled with absenteeism and injuries during the early part of their campaign. The Lake Street men have looked a lot more co-ordinated in recent matches and few would read into their defeat at the hands of the Blues in a recent league game.
Whilst this particular Championship game looks particularly difficult to call, it remains to be seen which team selections are made by the respective managers.
The Clans look set to be missing a number of key players and although the Irish League season swings into action this Saturday, Niall Henderson, who has recently moved from Glenavon to Glentoran, and Portadown player Sean Mackle would be almost certain starters for the Francis Street team who will no doubt be planning for the scenario that Ryan Henderson will play some form of role on the night even considering he has recently signed for Ards.
The former Armagh player made a one off League appearance against Clan na Gael before agreeing terms with Linfield who released him at the end of the 2012 season. Ryan who was unable to play any Gaelic during his time at Windsor Park.
Niall Currie could be seen more in a Clann Eireann jersey in the future. Clann Eireann in years to come could be expected to be a permanent first division side. They have had a number of successes with underage teams and following Armagh minors exit from the Ulster series Mark Beattie introduced a number of young players to his side including Shea Heffron, Johnny Tarode, James McDade and Jack Wilson.
For the Clans player boss Mark Beattie will be leading from the front and Chris McCafferty, Decky Leathem, Conor Bell and John McLoughlin could all play leading roles.
The form of Blues front man Stefan Campbell will be a major factor in Clan na Gael’s fortunes. He looked sharp for Armagh in the All-Ireland series against Galway and his fitness levels would be extreme at present, Their defence which includes Mel Patterson, Aaron Toland and Liam MCGuigan will be difficult to penetrate, Sean Mackle is having a good year in the Blue Jersey but if Clans boss Kevin O’Hagan is forced to deal from a less than full deck his side will need to be on top form to get a result, Ronan Austin and Barry O’Hagan will both be missing.