Belfast Telegraph

Ulster showdown at Clones throws up final carbon copy

By Billy Weir

Clones is as far removed from Wimbledon, either of them, as you could ever imagine, although with cows ambling about in fields around the ground, it could well have been Glastonbury.

So when Sky's coverage of the Ulster Championship semi-final clash between Donegal and Derry began on Saturday evening with the words 'Prophets of Doom' emblazoned on the screen, you could have been forgiven for thinking that this was yet another popular beat combo that you'd never heard of.

Thankfully, Kanye West was nowhere to be seen as this was a battle of the north west between Derry's new kids on the block and perennial number one Donegal, headlined appropriately enough by Rory Gallagher.

It was Sky's first foray into Ulster this term as presenter Rachel Wyse had two green and golden greats in tow with Jim McGuinness and Darragh O Se, with Peter Canavan beside Brian Carney and his massive TV.

Carney is Sky's resident Irishman, the former rugby league player now doing a very passable impression of Swiss Tony, the used car salesman from The Fast Show, although stopping short of saying 'beating Donegal is very much like making love to a beautiful woman'.

Well, this was in Clones, they're down on that sort of thing.

McGuinness, who is a bit like a moody Roy Keane, is, of course, a former Donegal manager and player and still refers to them very much as 'we' but it was hard to take him seriously when pictures of the new management team also showed a sign for a shop and a cow grazing merrily on a hilltop. Funnily enough, it was a warm evening but the cow was Friesian... I'll get my coat.

"Donegal will be happy to win dirty," concluded O Se, which didn't seem much of a prize to me, as we tip-toed through the cowpat-laden minefield of clichés, including 'the Ulster Championship is the most competitive province' as we now look forward to the highly unpredictable third final on the trot between Donegal and Monaghan.

For Derry it is time to think again and head for the back door, but please close it behind you in case the cow gets in.

Belfast Telegraph

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