Ulster Club Football Championship
Con Magees, Antrim v Red Hughs’, Donegal at Portglenone
Antrim Junior champions Con Magees Glenravel set out on their Ulster Club campaign tomorrow when they take on Red Hugh’s of Donegal in the quarter final at Portglenone. A formidable task faces the Glenravel men as the men from Kilygordon were highly impressive when ending a 37 year famine to claim the Junior title against Urris three weeks ago. A mix of youth and experience the Donegal men had fallen at the final hurdle four times in the last 15 years but this time around they got it right with a power packed display on their way to a 4-9 to 0-4 victory, all four goals coming from corner foward James Carlin. Carlin, who had scored their only goal in their hard fought semi-final win over Letterkenny Gaels, was really on fire in the final, scoring two goals in each half. With Donegal senior player Stephen McMenamin pulling the strings they led by 11 points and half time and continued their dominance throughout the second half to cruise home with ease. To say they have experience on their side would be no exageration for in their ranks are team captain Gerard Melaugh (33), full-back Sean Sweeney (39), goalkeeper Ciaran Kelly (38) and forward Damien Browne (34), not to mention subs like 43-year-old PJ Gallagher and 37-year-old Eugene Browne.
Big Martin McCarry returns to his home club of Portglenone where Con Magees take on Red Hughs’ of Donegal in the Ulster Club Junior Football Championship
Con Magees have been kept busy since their win over St Patrick’s Lisburn in the Antrim final. The following week they took on, and beat fellow league contenders St Comgall’s in a crucial league game at Fr Maginn Park, before securing the league title with a convincing win over Ardoyne last Sunday at the same venue. The Glenravel men were given a boost in those game by the return of former Antrim minor star Eamon Fyfe who spent most of the summer in the USA and Fyfe must be in line for a starting place tomorrow. Otherwise the team will be along the same lines as the one that won the Antrim title that day with Paul McCurry, Niall Swann and Ciaran O’Connor the stand out players in defence. David Higgins and Conor Carey should again form the midfield partnership where they will be hard pushed to contain McMenamin while up front the men in green will look to Josh McKeown, Conor McNeill and Eamon Fyfe for their scores. The physical presence of former Antrim and Portglenone star Martin McCarry on the edge of the square has been a big factor this season and with the game being played at his home club it will be a special day for the seasoned veteran.
Josh McKeown has been in good scoring form in Glenravel’s recent run of wins.
When Con Magees last won the Antirm title back in 2016 they lost out in the first round in Ulster to Tyrone champions Rock at O’Neill Park, Dungannon. That day they made a dreadful start when playing against a strong wind in the first half and were eight points down before they registered their first score. However in the second half they showed much better form and fought back well, but they had left themselves too much to do. They can’t afford anything like that tomorrow and it is important they get out of the traps much quicker this time. They face an unknown quantity in the Donegal champions but it they can reproduce the form they have shown in the last three weeks then there is no reason why they can’t book a semi-final place.
The Glenravel team who won the Antrim title was…
Sean O’ Boyle, Ally Mc Keown, Paul McCurry, Michael Laverty, Gareth Mc Keown, Niall Swann, Ciaran O’ Connor (0-01), Conor Carey, David Higgins (0-01), Declan Traynor (0-01), Kieran Mc Keown, Josh Mc Keown (0-04), Conor Mc Neill (0-02), Martin Mc Carry, Aiden O’ Donnell
Mark O’Connor for Gareth McKeown ; Jonathan Fyfe for A O’ Donnell
The Red Hughs’ team that won the Donegal title was
Ciaran Kelly; Cathal Doherty, Sean Sweeney, Ryan Kelly; Gary Kelly, Gerard Melaugh (0-2), Thomas McMenamin; Peadar McGlinchey (0-1, 1 ’45), Stephen McMenamin; Damien Browne (0-4, 3f), Pauric McMenamin, Shane McGlinchey; James Carlin (4-0), Shane Gallagher, Calvin Bradley (0-2). Subs: Jonny Carlin for P.McMenamin (50), Odhrán Doherty for James Carlin (56), Michael Devine for S.McGlinchey (56), Eugene Browne for Sweeney (58), PJ Gallagher for Bradley (60).