Cassidy targets place in decider as Bellaghy step up the pressure
Derry 1993 All-Ireland winner Damien Cassidy is hoping to plot the route to success for his Bellaghy side that meets Donegal representatives St Eunan's in today's Ulster minor club football tournament semi-final at the St Paul's complex in Belfast.
Even though his team has already recorded handsome wins over Dunloy and Inniskeen Grattan's, Cassidy is taking nothing for granted.
"We may have totted up decent scores in each game but we tended to make things hard for ourselves, and if we can avoid doing that then that would be helpful," says Cassidy.
His team has certainly done the Oak Leaf county proud to date. On a collective front, their spirit and work ethic have been very evident, while at individual level Lorcan Spier and Charlie Diamond have been on fire in their attack.
Spier in particular is in a rich vein of form and he is capable of making life extremely difficult for the St Eunan's defence.
Cormac McLarnon, James Diamond, Sean Elliott and Ronan McFaul are key figures in the Oak Leaf side's rearguard, while Conleth McShane, who performed well for Bellaghy at senior level this year, dovetails superbly with Kealan Friel at midfield.
Bellaghy's attack is led by Paul Cassidy, another player with senior experience, while Ronan Lee has a marked penchant for plundering goals.
In St Eunan's, Bellaghy will come up against a side that impressed in winning the Donegal minor title before overcoming Errigal Ciaran in their Ulster club minor quarter-final.
They had to work particularly hard for their victory in that game and it was the inspired performances of Patrick McGettigan, Oisin McGarvey, Shane O'Donnell and Conor O'Donnell that helped them into the last four.
McGettigan and Shane O'Donnell in particular will pose a big threat to the Bellaghy rearguard because of their pace and finishing skills.
St Eunan's favour an expansive policy and move the ball quickly when they sweep out from defence. They are likely to find Bellaghy stubborn and well-organised, a side that does not yield easily and which is particularly proficient in the middle third of the pitch.
Given the high standard that has been set in the competition to date, it is safe to assume that today's contest will see this level attained if not bettered.