Well there can be little doubt that while there will be huge interest in what takes place in Croke Park on Sunday with the Tyrone ladies, many GAA followers will travel to Omagh on Friday night to cast their eyes over The Target Express Intermediate Championship semi finals. It is a real East Tyrone versus North Tyrone double with the two sides from the East riding high at the top of the league as well as being fancied by many to be the pairing for the Intermediate championship final.
The opening game sees Derrylaughan take on Strabane in the first of the floodlit double header with the former going into this game as favourites. The Kevin Barrys are presently sitting in second place in the league and like their opponents required an earlier replay to get them to the position they are now in. They struggled against Rock in the first round but finally overcame a stubborn St. Patrick’s side at the second time of asking. Their quarter final win over Kileeshil was a much easier game for the Loughshore men as both Ciaran Gervin in particular outstanding for his team.
Strabane come into the game as real underdogs but are only too well aware that they have more than just a place in the final to play for. They are involved in a real relegation fight at the bottom of division two and know that getting a place in the final of the championship will give their chances of escaping the drop a huge boost. Their chances won’t be helped of course by the shortage of key player Brendan Mc Laughlin following his recent red card in the league. The Sigersons had two great battles with Newtown in the quarter final of the championship and those games will certainly stand them in good stead but without Mc Laughlin they could struggle against a very well drilled Derrylaughan defence.
It will be a close game and although the border side are physically big and imposing I still fancy that Derrylaughan possess the skill and know how to edge this one and make it through to the final.
Immediately after that we will see the first team to gain promotion this year Eglish take on another North Tyrone side in Urney. Eglish have been on a roll this year and have dealt easily with every challenge placed before them. Like Strabane they are big and physical but they know how to play football and with Brendan Donnelly and Caolan Daly in fantastic form, they will be confident of progressing to the final. As for Urney they have surprised a few by making it this far but having seen them defeat Edendork and Pomeroy I rate them very highly and they will come into this game in confident mood.
The Laffertys and Fergal Mc Nulty looked completely at home in the wide open spaces of Healy Park last time out and will relish the thought of playing there again. Urney have lots of pace and scoring threat in their forward line and if Eglish have one weakness it could be their lack of pace in defence. If Urney can exploit that they may be in with a real chance of causing an upset but with Eglish already having gained promotion and keen to do the double, I fancy them to win this one and go one step closer to making it a complete sweep in Intermediate football.