Leadon Timber Frames Ulster Minor Club Hurling Cup final:
Loughgiel (Antrim) v Éire Óg Carrickmore (Tyrone)
(Saturday, Ballinascreen, 1pm)
Loughgiel go into Saturday final at Ballinascreen as hot favourites after their runaway win over Derry champion Lavey last weekend. The young Shamrocks were a cut above their opponents and without having to extend themselves were convincing winners in the end. Of course if you took Jack McCloskey’s contribution out of it things would have been a bit tighter, the talented corner forward grabbing 3-5 of this team’s 3-18 total, but in truth the Antrim side were dominant throughout the field. Liam Glackin was the man that made things tick, the strong running midfielder a cut above the rest as he pulled the strings in the middle of the park, his ball winning skills eye-catching.
The other semi-final last Sunday was a much more competitive contest, with Tyrone champions Carrickmore taking extra time to get the better of Down’s Bredagh. The boys in black and amber should probably had things wrapped up in normal time but a late surge by Bredagh saw them snatch a draw. Carrickmore regained the upper hand in the ten minutes each way extra time and were deserving winners in the end as they secured their final place.
It may be a little arrogant to assume that Loughgiel will dominate the decider, and the Tyrone boys will be going all out to prove the doubters wrong, but I think that Liam Glackin, Ben McGarry, Ronan Fitzgerald, Jack McCloskey and the Patterson twins will have too much for their rivlas and should retain the trophy they won when the competition was last played back in 2019.
Loughgiel will be without Codi McGarry who was unlucky to see red last weekend but the rest of the team should be very similar to the one that beat Lavery.The team that lined out last week was Mark Christie; Ronan McLaughlin, Pearce Patterson, Ashdon McGarry; Tiago McGarry, Ben McGarry, Preston McGarry; Liam Glackin, Charlie O’Hagan; Ronan Fitzgerald, Darragh Patterson, Ryan O’Boyle; Jack McCloskey, Codai McGarry, Roan McGarry Subs: Danny McAuley for D Patterson (52); Conan Johnston for B McGarry (54); Oisin Convery for L Glackin (55)