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Derry's Shield bid boosted by Slaughtneil players' return

 

By Declan Bogue

The Slaughtneil contingent are expected to be back in force for Collie McGurk's Derry hurlers this weekend as they bid to take the Ulster Senior Hurling Shield when they face Tyrone in the heartland of Carrickmore (tomorrow, 1pm throw-in).

Mattie Lennon's men enjoyed an easy win over neighbours Fermanagh in the semi-final and are bolstered by the inclusion of fine players such as Aidy Kelly and Damian Casey.

However, the additional quality of the Slaughtneil men, including Eanna Cassidy who was superb against Monaghan last weekend, will tip the balance.

In the Allianz League hurling semi-finals, Davy Fitzgerald's Wexford will have an enormous task in taking on reigning All-Ireland champions Tipperary in Nowlan Park (tomorrow, 4pm).

In beating Kilkenny in the quarter-final, Wexford have already confirmed their status as the feel-good story of the spring. However, this test against Michael Ryan's men will tell them exactly where they are placed in the list of summer contenders.

The other semi-final features Limerick and Galway at the earlier throw-in time of 2pm.

Both Limerick manager John Kiely and his counterpart Michael Donoghue could benefit from a league final.

In ladies' football, Fermanagh are the only Ulster side in action this weekend when they face Wicklow in the Division Four semi-final, played tomorrow at Stabannon Parnell's club in Louth with a 2pm throw-in.

Late league wins over Carlow and Louth suggest the Erne Gaels could spring something of a surprise here against Wicklow, who only lost to Longford in the final dead-rubber match.

In camogie, much like the Derry hurlers, the Oak Leaf camogs are expecting a lift with the inclusion of their own Slaughtneil contingent, with Aoife Ní Cháiside back for their Division Two semi-final against Kildare tomorrow, the ball being thrown in at 2pm at Inniskeen Grattans.

Belfast Telegraph

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