One of England’s top amateur Gaelic football teams are looking to extend their winning streak with a victory over a regional rival.
St. Jude’s GAA have won the league and cup double in their past three seasons of competition and they face St. Nick’s GAA in their Championship Cup final this weekend.
“If we slip up that’s our season over,” goalie Willie O’Connell told BBC Sport.
“St Nick’s are good but we’ve got a big bunch of lads.”
St. Jude’s, who are based in Southampton, won eight of their 11 league matches this summer to be crowned Gloucestershire senior champions for the fourth consecutive season.
If they win their Championship Cup final on Sunday, not only will they claim a fourth double on the bounce, but they will qualify for the All Britain Competition tournament for a shot at national glory.
“It would be great to win the double and keep this run going,” said fullback and cornerback Padhraic Comerford.
“Our predecessor club in the nineties won seven championships in a row so we can pat ourselves on the back for what we’ve done so far, but there’s a long way to go before we’re setting a new standard for the area.”
St. Jude’s have already beaten St. Nick’s once this season in league competition and the two sides have a healthy rivalry with record and bragging rights always up for grabs.
“The boys need guts, determination and good quality football to win this weekend,” says St. Jude’s manager Billy Ryan.
“St Nick’s are a big rival team alright, they’re pretty formidable and a big strong outfit that will put up a good challenge – hopefully our boys can rise to the occasion.”
St Jude’s, who were established in 2013, have players from across Hampshire and Dorset and some travel more than 100 miles a week to train with the squad at Test Park in Southampton.
“There’s a great sense of enjoyment and a good craic among the boys,” manager Ryan added.
“This weekend’s Championship Cup is the biggest game on the calendar in the county for us. It means a lot and we’re really looking forward to it.
“I hope the boys put in a good performance and bring the trophy home again.”
St. Jude’s GAA take on St. Nick’s GAA of Bristol in the Championship Cup final at the Horspath and Athletics Sportsground in Oxford on Sunday, September 25 at 14:30. You can follow the game here.