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Banagher plan to hurl out big warning on the Ulster stage

John Campbell

By John Campbell

Just a week ago, Banagher's ambitions of making it into the Derry senior football championship were shattered in the most heartbreaking manner when they lost by a solitary point to O'Donovan Rossa, Magherafelt in a thrilling semi-final.

But while the north Derry side have been licking their psychological wounds since then, they have also turned their attention to Sunday's Ulster club intermediate hurling championship in which they will take on Antrim champions St Enda's, Glengormley.

With several dual players in their side, Banagher have a huge incentive to make amends for the disappointment their footballers endured.

In beating Swatragh by 0-21 to 0-8 in the Derry decider, Banagher showed that they are more than capable of making their presence felt on the Ulster stage.

Last year, St Enda's won the Ulster intermediate football title and now their hurlers - under the legendary 'Sambo' McNaughton - have their sights set on provincial glory.

McNaughton, never a man to mince his words, believes his team is capable of rising to the occasion.

"The Antrim championship is done and dusted and now it's into the Ulster series," he stresses. "It's going to be tough, that's for sure. I know that Banagher will be strong. While this is a big step-up for us, I feel we won't be out of our depth."

John O'Dwyer, Oisin McCloskey, Darragh Cartin, Mark Lynch and Tiarnan McCloskey represent the backbone of what is a well-balanced Banagher outfit, while St Enda's will seek to take their inspiration from players like Philly Curran, Eddie O'Connor, Ruairi O'Connor, John McGoldrick and Mark Donaghy.

Both teams can point to an array of scorers in their line-ups, although Ciaran Lynch and Brian Og McGilligan would appear to be capable of giving Banagher an edge at midfield.

The duo have been in the vanguard of Banagher's progress to date this year and their ability to acquire first-phase possession could prove key to their team's attacking policy.

Should they succeed on this front, then the Derry champions might just take a confident step into the semi-finals.

Belfast Telegraph

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