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Lamh Dhearg starlets can deliver

By John Campbell

The Lamh Dhearg club based at Hannahstown has produced a plethora of exciting footballers who have gone on to distinguish themselves in Antrim’s colours.

Indeed, when the Saffrons met Tyrone in the 2009 Ulster Senior Championship final it was Lamh Dhearg sharpshooter Paddy Cunningham who skippered the side.

A further raft of youthful talent from this progressive club will be on view tomorrow when the second semi-final in the Northern Bank Minor Club Tournament is staged at the St Paul’s complex at Shaw’s Road.

Lamh Dhearg, who had a facile 1-18 to 0-3 win over Fermanagh champions Aghadrumsee in their quarter-final, will now take on a well-drilled Kilcar side that in winning the Donegal Minor Championship showed themselves to be a team of quality.

Safety first is certainly not part of the Lamh Dhearg mantra. They believe in fluent, attacking football with Declan Lynch normally their primary source of possession, and Declan Stranney and Ryan Murray their specialists finishers.

Yet Kilcar will not be discomfited by the reputation of their opponents. In the McHugh cousins Eoin and Ryan — sons of 1992 All Ireland winners James and Martin McHugh — they have two chips off the respective old blocks while in Patrick McBrearty they have a competent playmaker who is adept at carving out chances.

In the quarter-finals, Kilcar had a handsome margin of victory to spare over Armagh champions Shane O’Neill’s but they will find the Lamh Dhearg defence, which has conceded relatively little in the competition to date, rather difficult to pierce with any degree of regularity.

Magherafelt O’Donovan Rossa are already through to the final and will have their spies out in force to assess proceedings.

Tournament dynamo Billy McLarnon believes that tomorrow’s semi and the final will go a long way towards compensating for the rash of postponements caused by the inclement weather.

“We were disappointed at having to call off so many games but we are in for a thrilling game tomorrow. Whoever wins will certainly deserve their crack at O’Donovan Rossa,” he says.

Belfast Telegraph

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