One of Armagh’s newest yet most progressive clubs St. Paul’s , Lurgan stand just two games away from achieving a unique double,
Last weekend the Teghnevan side clinched the Division 2 title with a narrow victory over local rivals Wolfe Tones and Shane McConville’s side are currently looking forward to a crunch semi-final against Grange on Sunday.
Formed from the shadows of the great Clan na Gael team of the 70s St. Paul’s have had a somewhat chequered past, the early days brought many high points, with several County players in their ranks the Saints challenged for honours at the tap table.
A lean period during the 80s even suggested an amalgamation with their local arrivals Eire Og before former Clans player Danny Treanor brought the team to a new level.
Before Treanor took over St. Paul’s lost every single game in one particular season, yet the following year they were perched at the top of Division 2 where players like Ronan Skelton, Tommy Stevenson and Kevin Lavery were showing their worth.
While it would be difficult to evaluate if this St. Paul’s team are better than their forerunners their consistency and commitment is certainly unwavering even considering the Lurgan outfit struggled in the top flight last season.
Manager Shane McConville always stressed that his team would benefit from playing Division 1 football and an Intermediate Championship final appearance would certainly galvanise his theory.
There is no doubt that the Saints game against Grange on Sunday is their toughest of the season to date, the Lurgan side however have the fitness the skill and certainly the determination to reach the October final against the winners from the semi involving Forkhill and Clann Éireann
An all Lurgan showpiece would be ideal and although young rising star Ryan Gilmore is out with an injury picked up in an earlier round, the experience of Dara Toal, Daniel McDonald, Phelim O’Neill, Niall McPartland and Andrew Murnan could push St. Paul’s to their first Intermediate final for decades.