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YOUTH | Derry And Armagh Champions Meet In Paul McGirr Semi Final

Friday 27.11.2015
Team Talk Mag


The first semi-final of the Paul McGirr Ulster U16 Club Champions Tournament takes place this Saturday at 2:00 in Gardrum Park and it is an enticing tie between Derry Champions Magherafelt O’Donovan Rossa and Armagh’s Clann Eireann.


Magherafelt had a nine point victory over Inniskeen in their opening game and some of their attacking play was of a very high standard with their main scoring threat coming from their central diamond of Caolan Coyle, Peter Tohill, Odhran Lynch and Cormac Murphy. Coyle and Murphy were particularly impressive as they continually drove forward and Clann Eireann will have to work hard to curb their threatening runs. Lynch is a towering figure at centre half forward and Magherafelt will be looking for him to dominate the aerial exchanges with his physical presence. However the Derry boys will certainly have to improve on their defensive performance from the quarter final as only the poor finishing of Inniskeen and the brilliance of goalkeeper Patrick McLarnon prevented them from conceding goals on four or five separate occasions, this is one aspect of the game which Clann Eireann will be looking to exploit. Manager Oliver Monaghan though is looking forward to the occasion


“O’Donovan Rossa Magherafelt are looking forward to the game on Saturday against Clann Eireann in the Paul McGirr Tournament. Clann Eireann look to be a very strong opposition which is what you would expect at this stage of an Ulster Semi Final. We have been unlucky losing a couple of players due to injuries which have come on the back of a long hard season. Hopefully the conditions won’t prevent an enjoyable game of football for both teams and supporters on Saturday afternoon”.


Magherafelt play a patient short passing style of football and like to build from defence, but the high press employed by Clann Eireann in the quarter final could cause trouble for them.


Clann Eireann, managed by Mairtin McConville and Gary McCleary put in perhaps the performance of the tournament so far when they comprehensively defeated highly fancied Down champions Bredagh 2-14 to 0-8 in the opening round in a display that left many of the neutral spectators marking them as tournament favourites. It was an impressive showing from the Lurgan boys particularly in the second half facing a strong wind and in man of the match Aodhan McConville they have a star in the making. McConville was in imperious form and his pace and accuracy will provide a huge task for Magherafelt full back Conor McCluskey. Rioghan Meehan, scorer of 1-3 against Bredagh, is another man that the Magherafelt boys will have to pay particular attention to as the flame haired wing forward was a constant threat with his tireless workrate. Centre back Jack Conlon and midfielder Conor Turbitt were the catalyst for many of the Clann Eireann attacks and their team will be hoping they can gain a foothold in the middle in what promises to be a fascinating contest. Manager Mairtin McConville although confident was in no doubt as to the challenge facing his team.


“Our boys are delighted to be competing at this level and in particular to have overcome down champions Bredagh in the quarter final. At the same time we are under no illusions about the difficulty in facing Magherafelt. Everyone is well aware of the competitiveness of the Derry championship and any team which comes out of Derry will be formidable. Having said that there is great belief within this squad of players and they will be up for the challenge ahead on Saturday”.


This is a game which would be very hard to call, if Magherafelt can tighten their defence then they will be in with a serious chance of progressing to next Sunday’s final, however the betting man would tip the odds slightly in favour of Clann Eireann with their overall strength and workrate.



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