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Calling the shots

By Declan Bogue

Bank of Ireland

Dr McKenna Cup

Semi-final

FERMANAGH v TYRONE

(Sunday, Brewster

Park, 2.00pm)

The Erne men have enjoyed a useful work-out so far, but like many other years, find themselves in a McKenna Cup semi-final against Tyrone.

It’s unlikely they will progress and it will be strange to see Ryan McMenamin acting as runner for his adopted county as he comes up against his native Tyrone for the first time.

The Red Hands don’t normally lose these games. 

VERDICT: Tyrone

Bank of Ireland

Dr McKenna Cup

Section B

ARMAGH v DERRY

(Sunday, Athletic Grounds, 2.00pm)

A game re-fixed from last Sunday, the odd thing is that neither side are safely into the semi-finals, with defeat for Derry possibly ending their involvement and Armagh grabbing the top spot.

Derry manager Damien McErlain is unlikely to field a team of established names, so it leaves the onus on Armagh to give their home support something to shout about.

We go for a narrow Derry victory.

VERDICT: Derry

Bank of Ireland

Dr McKenna Cup

Section B

DOWN v UUJ

(Sunday, Burren, 2.00pm)

Congratulations and fair play must be extended to Down for choosing to host this game at the Burren. Spreading county games throughout the county when possible is always a good boon to the club hosting and a novelty for all concerned.

Unless Jordanstown win this game by around 20 points and Monaghan and Donegal draw — which would place the students in the semi-finals — then this is a dead rubber game.

VERDICT: Down

Bank of Ireland

Dr McKenna Cup

Section C

MONAGHAN v DONEGAL

(Sunday, Clones, 2.00pm)

Providing Derry beat Armagh, then this game becomes a winner-takes-all affair, with the victors likely to progress to Wednesday night’s second semi-final — as things stand that would be against Derry — as the best-placed runners-up.

Home advantage to tell.

VERDICT: Monaghan

CONOR McGURK CUP FINAL

ANTRIM v DOWN

(Saturday, The Dub, 7.00pm)

After a busy early stage of the month, with Antrim in action in the Walsh Cup in Leinster and also competing in the Conor McGurk Cup, the Saffrons’ intentions will soon be revealed.

The addition of Liam Sheedy was a high-profile one, and they have a number of youngsters that the management are keen to give game-time to.

VERDICT: Antrim

CREGGAN under-21 CLUB FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

GHAOITH DOBHAIR v O’DONOVAN ROSSA

(Saturday, Creggan, 12.30pm)

Now this is one to get your teeth into.

When Donegal reached the All-Ireland minor final in 2014 the team were backboned by Gaoth Dobhair men and quite a few of them are still around, including two men who have tasted inter-county action in Cian Mulligan and Michael Carroll, but Ciaran Gillespie is injured for this.

Their manager is the renowned student of football, the famous Tom Beag Gillespie, who has been with this group and ushered them through their development.

Antrim champs Rossa are managed by Kieran Grego and have county hurler Deaglan Murphy (below) among their ranks, but their preparations have not gone smoothly.

Hampered by the unavailability of minors during their St Paul’s run, Grego has stated he feels they may struggle with winter football.

VERDICT: Gaoth Dobhair

CREGGAN under-21 CLUB FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

CARRYDUFF v ENNISKILLEN GAELS

(Saturday, Creggan, 2.15pm)

The Fermanagh Championship was only completed last week, but a sizeable amount of Enniskillen Gaels players will also have been in action for the club minors over the winter, when they captured the St Paul’s minor tournament after a gap of 30 years.

Under a management team of Niall Jones and the irrepressible Rory Rafferty, Enniskillen Gaels will rely on the likes of Callum Jones and minor captain Eoin Beacom.

Meanwhile, Carryduff are facing into a bit of an injury crisis with full-forward Ronan Beatty definitely out. 

VERDICT: Enniskillen Gaels

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