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Castledawson have 24 hours to plot victory

By John Campbell

If patience is a virtue then Castledawson are discovering that they currently require it in spades.

The Derry club is due to meet the Donegal champions in tomorrow's Ulster Club Intermediate Football Championship quarter-final at Owenbeg - but the big problem is that they will not know the identity of their opponents until later this afternoon.

That's because the Donegal decider between Buncrana and Cloughaneely is scheduled for Ballybofey this afternoon (2.15pm) so the winners will be in action 24 hours later in an important provincial tie - and it's all because of the decision by the Donegal County Board to put its championships on hold until the county team's involvement in the All-Ireland series had ended.

Little wonder, then, that Castledawson manager William McAteer, a teacher in St Patrick's College, Maghera, will assess today's game closely.

Castledawson proved a surprise packet in the Derry Championship in which Glen had initially been pronounced clear favourites.

But in overcoming Slaughtmanus in a keenly contested decider, 0-7 to 0-6, Castledawson displayed the grit, staying power and skill which have been their hallmarks this year.

McAteer has welded together a side that is an amalgam of youth and experience with Paddy Henry, one of the best hurlers not just in Derry but in Ulster, as skipper.

Henry took a year out from hurling to focus on his additional responsibilities with Castledawson but is included in new manager Tom McLean's preliminary Derry panel for 2015.

Tomorrow, though, he will be totally focused on bringing Castledawson further in the Ulster Intermediate Championship and with players like Aidan McElhone, Niall McNicholl, Martin Kane and Ruairi Shivers around him this ambition may well become a reality.

Talented duo Niall and Aidan Keenan are nephews of county chairman John Keenan, with Niall having been on the Derry minor side this year and eligible again for next year.

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