It will be a family affair for relations Ryan McEvoy and Conor McCrickard when Ulster champions Kilcoo take on Cork and Munster pivots St Finbarr’s.
The pair – who lined up next to each other for Down in the Ulster Championship loss to Donegal last summer – will find themselves on opposite sides in this All-Ireland semi-final .
Full-back McEvoy continues to grow in stature and, having turned 21 last week, is already celebrating his second Ulster league title.
Striker McCrickard, meanwhile, hails from the nearby parish of Liatroim but played for the Barrs after a traineeship as part of his Ulster University degree which took him to the rebel county.
The 22-year-old helped the Cork City club win a first Munster football title since 1986 with victory over Kerry’s Austin Stacks yesterday, and he will face a familiar foe in a fortnight.
“Conor is actually a relative – a distant cousin but still a relation,” McEvoy said after Kilcoo’s Ulster final triumph over Derrygonnelly yesterday.
“I’ve played county miners, U20s and seniors with Conor, he’s been amazing there. He cuts it.
“But we have a job to do in two weeks, we just want to cross the line again.”
So you won’t be in contact with him then?
“I won’t be,” he smiled, “I wouldn’t think so.”
Kilcoo’s defense handled a second-half aerial bombardment admirably as Derrygonnelly tried to come back in yesterday’s game, and McEvoy says the Magpies knew they couldn’t afford to be complacent in their bid to retain the Seamus MacFerran Cup.
“It was a very tough first half, they set themselves up very defensively, hard to break at times. But we cut towards the goal and that was the real opening for us.
“They didn’t seem to have any real turning back after that but they fought it out, gave us everything they had, threw a high ball and thankfully we handled it well. .
“We knew we couldn’t afford to be complacent. The second you are, the ball is in the net and the game starts over. Thank goodness that didn’t happen, we had boys around the breaks and we did fine.
“It’s great to be Ulster champions again.”
And, having lost to Corofin in the All-Ireland club final two years ago, the aim is to do better this time around.
“Two years ago it was magical to get that first Ulster… I think everyone kind of put the club before them and it paid off. This year it was the same. These boys put football above all in their lives, everyone works for each other.
“We want to go far this year, we want to win All-Ireland. Losing to Corofin was heartbreaking to say the least. When you come out of a defeat like that it’s demoralizing but we knew we just had to pull yourself together and come back stronger.