The Tyrone Minor hurlers will attempt to get their Ulster Minor Division Two Hurling League campaign off to a winning start tomorrow afternoon, when they host Donegal, at Omagh.
The Red Hands were due to start last weekend against Monaghan, but the inclement weather put paid to those plans. As a result, manager Declan Bennett and company will be hoping to belatedly make a winning start, as they chase potential provincial honours.
Competing in Division Two, Tyrone will also come up against Fermanagh and Monaghan in the coming weeks with the top two teams in the section progressing to the league final. That decider was due to be played on Saturday 2nd April, but with last weekends first round programme falling foul of the weather it could well be put back to Saturday 9th April.
There is no doubting the fact that Donegal will provide Tyrone with their toughest test of the campaign and, in that regard Tyrone would have preferred to have got a competitive game under their belts last weekend against Monaghan. Donegal are flying by all accounts having defeated Derry in a recent challenge game and, they will travel to Healy Park in confident mood of launching their own league challenge in style.
These two teams contested the Division Two League and All-Ireland ‘C’ Minor Hurling Finals last year with both teams enjoying success. Donegal claimed the league title following a narrow one point victory, but the Red Hands avenged that defeat by collecting the All-Ireland ‘C’ title with a resounding victory, at Casement Park.
As both teams are backboned by the majority of last years panel Saturday’s game has the potential to be a thriller between two teams, who are the hottest of favourites to contest the league final next month. Tiernan Morgan, Conor McNally and Damien Casey are among those back on board for the Red Hands in the coming year, while Donegal have the likes of Justin Browne (Setanta), Chris McDermott from Burt and St Eunan’s Colm Flood.
Donegal are a quality team with the ability to pose Tyrone serious problems tomorrow with the likes of Joseph Alvey and Sean Mulherne from the Four Masters Club two rising prospects with bright careers ahead of them. Throw in Conor McVeigh, Sean McBride and Kevin Meehan and it is easy to see why Donegal will travel to Omagh confident of winning.
Tyrone with home advantage will be determined to launch their season on a winning note. Donegal will have similar ideas and given the pedigree of both teams it has the makings of an exciting afternoons hurling. In an anticipated high scoring encounter Donegal get the verdict to secure the narrowest of wins in what promises to be a fairly competitive affair.
Ulster Minor Hurling League Fixture
Saturday 19th March
Tyrone vs. Donegal, at 12 noon at Omagh, referee Liam McAuley