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Carryduff boss braced for another U21 classic

Carryduff came through a thrilling semi-final clash with neighbours St Brigid’s to book their place in the Ulster U21 final and they’ll take on Tyrone champions Dromore at Creggan on Sunday Carryduff came through a thrilling semi-final clash with neighbours St Brigid’s to book their place in the Ulster U21 final and they’ll take on Tyrone champions Dromore at Creggan on Sunday
By Paddy Tierney

Gaelic Games: Ulster U21 Club Football Tournament; Carryduff v Dromore (Sunday, 2pm, Creggan)

THE Paddy McLarnon Cup will have a new home this weekend when Carryduff and Dromore meet in the Ulster U21 Club Football Tournament at Creggan on Sunday.

Having put South Belfast rivals St Brigid’s to the sword in an epic semi-final clash last time out, Carryduff will be full of confidence.

In the final minute of normal time, Daniel Guinness landed the crucial point to seal a 2-12 to 2-11 win for the Down champions.
The brilliantly-organised tournament hosted by Creggan Kickhams has a habit of producing thrilling ties and the South Belfast derby was no exception.

For winning boss DJ Morgan though, the last four encounter wasn’t all that easy to watch – especially given the close nature of the match.

“It was very nervy watching along the sideline,” stressed Morgan.

“It was a very open game and a very exciting game. It was like playground football – the next score wins. It was end-to-end stuff, played on a good pitch and played in a very sporting manner. I can’t recall a bad tackle in the game.

“They probably broke through our line a bit too easily for my liking and got their scores a bit easier than we did. Defensively, we need to tighten up for this week.

“We were a bit ring-rusty because we hadn’t had a game since November. You can have in-house matches, friendlies, but it doesn’t compare to the real thing no matter what anybody says. You can’t beat a competitive game.”

Carryduff’s quarter-final meeting with Carrickmacross was called off at the 11th hour as the Monaghan outfit were unable to field.

Dromore, on contrast have caught the eye with a couple of impressive wins over highly-rated opponents.

Morgan, who will be without Rory Reilly for Sunday’s final, witnessed their 1-14 to 1-8 semi-final win over O’Donovan Rossa Magherafelt and was impressed by what he saw.

“They (Dromore) were slow starting, but once they got into the groove, they were very effective,” added Morgan.

“They’ve beaten two very good teams so far.

“Clann Eireann and Magherafelt were impressive in the early rounds. Dromore beat Magherafelt quite convincingly in the end – they are a very strong team.”

While Morgan was able to get a good look at Dromore the last day, St Dympna’s manager Paddy Montague only caught 10 minutes of their end-to-end battle with St Brigid’s.

“We don’t really know much about Carryduff,” said Montague.

“They were playing before us the last day and I only seen 10 minutes or so. I’ve watched the DVD since that and they look a really strong outfit. They’ve some great footballers and they look a good team.

“They’ve plenty of good runners. Daniel Guinness is a great player and they’ve a good midfield. They look the part so we’ve a big job on our hands if we are to get over the line on Sunday.”

The Dromore boss is hopeful that Odhran Rafferty and Nathan McCarron recover from knocks to line out against Carryduff.

If Rafferty is fit, he could line out in a full-forward line which includes Tiernan Sludden, younger brother of Tyrone senior star Niall.

Strangely, for a team who are the Tyrone U21 champions, Dromore currently have no players on Mickey Harte’s senior panel.

In contrast, Daniel Guinness is posed to break on to Paddy Tally’s Down side this year having made a number of substitute appearances already, while Owen McCabe is also on the Down squad.

Yet, it was full-forward Ronan Beatty who impressed most against St Brigid’s as his 0-7 haul earned him the man-of-match award and the Dromore defensive will need to be at their best to nullify his threat.

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