"You go to mass, have a few sheep and that's really it" - rural Kilcoo a romantics' dream 3 weeks ago

"You go to mass, have a few sheep and that's really it" - rural Kilcoo a romantics' dream

Kilcoo sounds like the place to be.

"There's nothing else to do in Kilcoo except for the football," said centre back Aaron Branagan after the Down club made it to another Ulster senior football final.

"You go to Mass, have a few sheep and that's really it..."

Mass, sheep and football. What more could a man want?

In all seriousness though, we had a gander at Kilcoo on Google maps and that appears to be the height of it in this typical, small rural Irish village. A beautiful backdrop to a modest parish, it really is the type of place nature lovers would go on their holidays.

And it's home to one hell of a football team too. Of the last eight Down senior football championships, Kilcoo GAC - the village's only sporting club - have won seven of them.

In that period, they've played in three Ulster finals too and now they're preparing for a third. With the calm and astute Mickey Moran on the job, there appears to be something a little different to them this time around.

Something a little Slaughtneil about them.

It was far from a vintage Kilcoo performance that took them over Derrygonnelly Harps in the Ulster semi-final but they won't mind. They got the job done in a 1-8 to 0-9 low-scoring affair and they march on.

Aaron Branagan didn't seem to mind about the manner of it. In fact, the man-of-the-match seems like the type of lad who wouldn't get too panicked about most things.

Unless maybe the sheep broke out into the neigbours' field.

"That's the way we like it, nice and tough," he said in a brilliant post-match interview with Evanne Ní Chuilinn of RTÉ.

They make 'em hardy up in Kilcoo.

"Me scoring goals, that's a small miracle," added Branagan, who has five brothers on the team.

As for the great Mickey Moran, he's built a close bond with this team.

"Mickey is something else, he's like the grandad I never had..."

Next up is Naomh Conaill in the Ulster final. That'll be some contest.