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Ulster Minor Club Hurling Semi Final Preview

Friday 11.11.2011
Team Talk Mag

Dungannon Eoghan Ruadh (Tyrone) vs. Slaughtneil Emmett’s (Derry)
Sunday 13th November
At 2.00pm in Ballinascreen

Derry Minor Hurling Champions Slaughtneil stand in the way of Dungannon’s Ulster Minor Club hurling title aspirations, when the two sides meet in the second semi final of the 2011 Gortfad Electrics and Leaden Timber Frames sponsored tournament, at Dean McGlinchey Park in Ballinascreen this Sunday afternoon.

The Tyrone champions will enter the game in optimistic mood of setting up an Ulster decider against Antrim kingpins St John’s in two weeks time. The Belfast based club eased to a comprehensive victory over Down Champions Carryduff last Sunday afternoon hitting six goals in the process. However, before even contemplating a final berth the Eoghan Ruadh teenagers must focus their efforts in overcoming a very formidable Slaughtneil outfit.

The Emmett’s completed the Derry League and Championship double for the second year running recently with a landslide 5-17 to 0-8 win over Lavey. Cormac O’Doherty proving to be a thorn in the Lavey defence all afternoon, as he completed a hat trick of goals on his way to a 3-5 contribution. Se McGuigan notched up 0-4 with the other goals coming from Brendan Rodgers and Gerald Bradley, who accounted for 1-5.

There is no doubting the ability of the Derry lads because in the quarter finals, they continued that impressive form with a demolition of Keady. A 5-13 to 1-8 success shows that the Sperrin champions have clearly the firepower and defensive strategies to pose all opposition problems. Se McGuigan and Gerald Bradley hit two goals each that afternoon, while the fifth came from the hurl of Dominic Mullan.

A brief look through the Slaughtneil team shows that they possess quality in every line of the field. Stephen O’Hara, Dominic Mullan and team captain Mark O’Doherty are quality hurlers, who will be eager to prove their worth against the Tyrone champions. While McGuigan and Cormac O’Doherty account for the bulk of the Emmett’s scoring power the industry of Michael McGrath, Pearse McGrath and Rodgers means that they have every right to fancy their chances of victory this.

Dungannon might well be the underdogs, but the Tyrone champions won’t be a push over. They have already shown their capabilities by winning the Antrim Minor Hurling League earlier this season. They also secured the Tyrone League and championship double and in the quarter finals of the Ulster club campaign, they easily accounted for the challenge of St Eunan’s Letterkenny. The Dungannon youngsters powering to a 4-12 to 1-4 success with Ciaran McCrudden supplying 2-2. Damian Casey contributed 1-5, while the fourth goal came courtesy of corner forward Ricky Kelly.
Like Slaughtneil, Dungannon have an abundance of underage talent coming through the ranks and, Sunday’s semi final clash promises to be a fiercely contested affair. In defence the likes of Michael Donnelly, Ruairi Devlin, Michael Maneely and Conor McNally will have their work cut out to prevent a free scoring Slaughtneil side from clicking into gear.

In midfield Dungannon have two capable players in Tiernan Morgan and joint captain Thomas Lowe, while in attack Damian Casey will hoping to lead by example. He is joint captain of the team with dual star Lowe and his experience of playing at a higher level with county and club (senior level) shows that Eoghan Ruadh are clearly setting the foundations for future years.

Throw in the likes of Ciaran McCrudden, Ricky Kelly and Dara Mallon alongside Eddie Goodwin and Lorcan McGrath and one can see why Dungannon are not travelling to Ballinascreen just to make up the numbers.

The scene has been set for what should be a free flowing open and high scoring game of hurling between two exceptionally prepared teams. Both teams have strong defences, mobile midfielders and potent forwards which suggests we could be in for a treat this weekend. Slaughtneil will start as favourites to advance to the final in two weeks time, but Dungannon have shown their worth when annexing the Antrim Minor Hurling League title earlier this year.
There is nothing better to build confidence than winning matches and, in that regard Dungannon have a solid base to work from. Will it be enough to upset the form book? Time will tell, but if Dungannon can play to their potential then the Derry champions will have a serious challenge on their hands.

Ulster Minor Club Hurling Championship semi final fixture
Sunday 13th November
Dungannon Eoghan Ruadh (Tyrone champions) vs. Slaughtneil Emmett’s (Derry Champions)
The Final
Sunday 27th November
St John’s Belfast (Antrim Champions) vs. winners of this weekend’s semi final



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