Updated: Aug 8, 2019
Last season's Antrim Junior B Hurling champions All Saints Ballymena go in search of back-to-back success this Friday evening as they take on Latharna Óg in the 2019 Final.
Fr McGuigan Park plays host to this year's decider, a venue with which the Ballymena men will be more familiar than their seaside opponents. That Latharna Óg are taking to the field in a county final at all is testament to a huge effort at resurgence that began around this time last year.
The Craigyhill Terrors come into the match on the back of a successful return to all-county action, finishing a respectable 4th in Division 4, including a single-point defeat of this weekend's opposition back in June.
Entering the Championship at the Semi-Final stage, Latharna Óg weathered an early Loch Mór Dál gCais storm to eventually ease to a 7-17 to 2-12 victory. Conor Matthews and Michael Lismore led the Larne raid with a brace of goals to settle any nerves before the Brustin Braes men took control.
With last season's All-Ireland tournament experience under their belts, All Saints were handed an opening-round game with Ardoyne in the 2019 campaign. Damian Gillan, Liam Cassley and Luke O'Rawe were on form as the South West men breezed to victory.
In a repeat of last season's Semi-Final, Saints saw off a determined Davitts, with Ciaran Neeson hitting a remarkable 5-05 in the process. The goals ultimately proved decisive on a scoreline of 6-13 to 0-13.
Both sides have a number of tricky forwards who can hurt the opposition from both play and placed balls. Latharna Óg's Michael Lismore carries both experience and talent, while Conor Matthews eye for the target was key to their passage to the final.
The talismanic Liam Cassley continues to shine for All Saints and the reliability of Damian Gillan from placed balls combines nicely with Ciaran Neeson's explosive scoring ability to trouble any defence.
Latharna Óg will come into the game with the exuberance of a side with nothing to lose, while All Saints will no doubt be installed as heavy favourites. The Larne men will look to that league victory and draw confidence from it, but Ballymena's greater experience coupled with the extra game under their belts should have enough to clinch a second title in a row.