It will be the battle of the Harps on Saturday night at Brewster Park as Derrygonnelly Harps take on Armagh Harps for a place in the Ulster Club semi-final.
The Fermanagh champions have made no secret about wanting to make an impression in the provincial championship and with home advantage against a team that won their first county title in 26 years they will feel that they have a great opportunity to progress.
Ulster has been a tough learning ground for Derrygonnelly over the last two years when they were drawn away to Slaughtneil on both occasions but they showed big improvement last year on the year before and manager Martin Greene is hoping that the experience of the last couple of years will benefit his players.
“Hopefully that will stand to us. The boys would be quite experienced at this stage and I’ve no doubt they have learned from the last couple of years. Certainly I think that we learned from our first year and we were better last year,” he said.
And Greene stresses that the club are eager to get that first win under their belt on the provincial stage having yet to get past the first round.
“It is important for the players and important for the club.     Once the final was done and dusted with Devenish, and it was nice to win three in a row, our whole focus was then on Ulster. When these lads take to the field their aim will be to win that first game in Ulster for the club, we’ve never won a game in the competition in our history and that’s what we are working towards. We want to get that monkey off the back and why not Saturday? We know though that it is going to be tough and we are preparing for 65 or 70 minutes of hard graft to try and reach our goal,” he said.
The Fermanagh champions also have home advantage for the quarter-final tie which will be held at Brewster Park although Greene states that there are plenty of other factors to deciding the outcome of the game.
“We have been away to Slaughtneil twice so to be in Brewster Park, a ground we know well and have played reasonably well in, is good. At this time of the year though there are a lot of factors that come into play such as the weather and the team you are playing but we are looking forward to the challenge.”
Armagh Harps produced a superb second half performance as they overcame favourites Maghery in the Armagh final and Greene, who was in the Athletic Grounds to watch his future opponents, is wary of the threat they pose.
“They will be a very stiff challenge for us. I was very impressed with their second half performance against a Maghery side who went into the final as favourites. Armagh have good players all over the pitch and they are strong in most sectors,” he added.
Defensively, Armagh Harps are well organised with Paddy Morrison a strong presence in goal while Declan McKenna is a powerful figure at centre half back.
In the middle third they will look to the likes of Charlie Vernon and Conor White while further forward Joe McElroy and Ultan Lennon are key men.
Derrygonnelly though possess plenty of quality of their own with Mickey Jones and Tiarnan Daly important players at the back while Ryan Jones and Garvan Jones gave them a physical and strong platform in the middle of the park. And with the likes of Paul Ward and Conall Jones in attack they carry a good scoring threat.
And Greene feels that the midfield battle could be decisive on the night.
“I expect a lot of congestion there on Saturday. Armagh are very strong around the middle, they bring three or four boys out and their kick outs were impressive against Maghery. But we would think we are strong in that sector as well so it will be very competitive and the winning of the game could come down to who wants to win the midfield battle more,” he stated.
This could well be a tightly contested battle with little between the sides at the finish but Greene is hopeful that his side can progress.
“It’s a challenge, as I’ve said they are a very good side, but we are looking forward to it and hopefully we can come out on the right end of the result on Saturday night.”