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Brothers lead Coleraine in All-Ireland clash

By Declan Bogue

Not every junior team can call on six inter-county players, but that is the embarrassment of riches that Eoghan Ruadh, Coleraine will be calling on as they get ready for their All-Ireland Junior Hurling Championship quarter-final this weekend.

They square off against Fullen Gaels of Lancashire, in Páirc na hÉireann, Birmingham, a side who have contested two of the last three All-Ireland finals at this level. On both occasions they lost to Kilkenny opposition; Bennettsbridge earlier this year, and Thomastown in 2013.

Coleraine's driving force are the five McGoldrick brothers, four of whom have been named on new Derry manager Damian Barton's training panel, along with their cousin, Niall Holly.

Their commitment to county football, and also the run to the county final the club footballers were on this year, left manager Padraig O'Mianain to, "more or less put the hurls away," during the month of September.

However, they recovered in time to beat Naomh Colmcille of Tyrone, Sean MacCumhails of Donegal, and Down's Ballela in the Ulster final.

"All the games were knocked back a week because our lads were in the county football final and the re-fixed game against MacCumhails, they had six or seven lads away on a stag do. We played a much-weakened Sean MacCumhails," explains O'Mianain.

"We wouldn't have been confident of getting a victory if they had have had a full team out.

"But as the weeks went by, the football was over and we would have had the boys training three times a week to get some stickwork in.

"We were getting better all along. We had a final against Ballela, they had the wind in the first half and we had a six-point lead. We scored a goal and a couple of points at the start of the second half and survived."

Coleraine also have extensive Ulster experience going for them, having reached the 2014 Ulster Intermediate decider, where they lost to Belfast's O'Donovan Rossa.

They have also played and competed against present Intermediate champions Creggan, and finalists Carrickmore.

"We feel we are getting back to the level we should be. We have had another couple of weeks to get the stickwork in," continued their manager.

O'Mianain's own background is an interesting one. Brought up in Gweedore in Donegal, his father was a Derry city man and the family returned to Derry in his mid-teens.

He took up hurling with Na Magha, but spent 20 years studying, doing a post-grad and working in Portstewart.

Sean McGoldrick, father of that remarkable family of footballers, hurlers and camogs, moved from Belfast to Portstewart to work in the University.

The two men met, with McGoldrick managing the county team, and O'Mianain being his goalkeeper for years.

They have been linked through hurling ever since, the two spearheading the underage hurling revolution in an otherwise barren area for the small ball code.

Looking ahead to this weekend, O'Mianain admits it is hard to get any scouting reports on their Lancashire opponents.

"We are trying to get a look at the final they played a couple of weeks ago, but no luck," he admits.

"We are going into the unknown here totally. We know they were beaten in an All-Ireland final this year in Croke Park and beaten by Creggan two years ago, and they were in the final three years ago."

The game throws in at 1pm on Saturday.

Belfast Telegraph


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