THE senior footballers of Bredagh will begin their quest for provincial honours on Sunday when they travel to Letterkenny to face Donegal champions Burt.
Michael O’Callaghan’s side of course captured the Down title against Dromara earlier this month but have since had to deal with the disappointment of losing out in a play-off against Drumaness that condemns the South Belfast men to another year in Division 4.
While that 1-10 to 0-10 reversal will have stung the players, they have the opportunity to make amends this weekend and exact a form of revenge on a Donegal side.
In 2006 the Cherryvale men lost out in the semi-final to Naomh Bríd and will be hoping they can ensure a victory on this occasion.
The Bredagh manager believes his players must grasp this opportunity with both hands as Ulster Championship games are not a regular occurrence and it will also help lift the mood after the Drumaness defeat.
“We are looking forward to it. It’s an opportunity to start on the Ulster scene which is good,” he said.
“We have had a good couple of weeks training after the disappointment of losing out in the promotion play-off against Drumaness but the boys have got over that and are getting ready now to play Burt.
“It was definitely a blow not to get promoted but at the same time it is an Ulster Championship game.
“You don’t get too many opportunities to play in the Ulster Championship so the boys shouldn’t need anymore motivation than that.”
The Tír Chonaill men are perhaps best known for their exploits on the hurling field but also have a fine pedigree with the big ball and indeed have previously played in the Ulster Junior Championship.
Having dropped down from the Intermediate grade in Donegal this year, and enjoying home advantage on Sunday, they will enter as slight favourites.
The image of Donegal football in 2011 is one of a rigid defensive system and O’Callaghan is expecting a similar formation from Burt on Sunday.
“They were Intermediate in Donegal two years ago and they dropped down from the Intermediate grade last year,” he added.
“From what I have heard they play with a very defensive game plan so we will know exactly what to expect.
“They will put a lot of men behind the ball and try to frustrate you. They also have two good full-forwards who are accurate enough so they will try and get the ball into them.
“On top of that they have a big hurling connection so they will know about playing in big games and that will surely stand to them as well.”
Bredagh are hoping to have a clean bill of health ahead of their quarter-final meeting but some doubts remain over two key players.
One of those is Henry Deazley who played the last time Bredagh were involved in the Ulster Championship and O’Callaghan is hoping his experience and that of others who were involved back in 2006 can help guide them into the semi-final.
“We have Henry Deazley who is carrying a bit of a knock and Declan O’Hara who picked up a bit of a knock in the Drumaness game so they haven’t been able to train last week but we hope to have them back with us this week,” revealed Michael.
“We have been on a good run and won the Down Championship for the second time in the club’s history.
“The last time the club were at this stage six years ago they were actually beaten by a Donegal team so there is a bit of a score to settle there as well.
“Some of the boys were involved back then and those older boys know what is expected and know what the standard is like so we hope to use that to our advantage on Sunday.”