Castledawson can strike blow for Derry pride on Ulster stage
Slaughtneil may be viewed as Derry's main standard-bearers in this weekend's Ulster club championship action but Castledawson aim to extend their participation in the provincial series when they take on Pomeroy in the Intermediate Club semi-final at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh tomorrow (12.45pm).
In what has been a disappointing year for the Oak Leaf county to date, the prospect of significant success at club level has rekindled fervour at grassroots level and Castledawson's palpable hunger to reach the Ulster decider suggests they can strike a blow for Derry pride.
Yet they have been forced to chart a difficult course to reach the stage where they are continuing to play championship football in dark and dank November.
Steelstown ran them close in the county final and then Armagh champions Whitecross proved tenacious opponents in the Ulster quarter-final before losing by 2-14 to 2-10.
Tomorrow, Castledawson will look to Aidan Keenan, Niall McNicholl, Conor McTaggart, Kieran O'Kane and Conor Scullion to fire up their challenge against a Pomeroy side that will lean on the McGearys, Hugh Pat and Kieran, as well as Frank Burns for inspiration.
Pomeroy were convincing winners over Arva at the quarter-final stage and could now maintain their momentum.
In the other intermediate semi-final, Antrim champions Aghagallon and Monaghan title-holders Donaghmoyne will meet at Pairc Esler, Newry (12.45pm). Aghagallon created something of a surprise in the quarter-finals by overcoming Fermanagh champions Kinawley and this could fuel their desire to make it into the decider.
In the Ulster Club Intermediate Hurling Championship semi-final, Keady will meet Antrim champions St Brigid's, Cloughmills at Owenbeg (12.45pm).
St Brigid's laid down a marker and proved they can be a force in Ulster in the manner in which they beat Tyrone champions Eire Og in their quarter-final.
The winners of tomorrow's contest will meet Eoghan Rua (Coleraine) in the provincial final. The north-west side booked their place in the decider by beating Bredagh in the first semi-final last weekend.