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Battle of the Ryans will hold centre stage as Steelstown and Moortown clash in Ulster Club Intermediate final

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Key man: Neil Forester is still giving his all to the Steelstown cause. Credit: INPHO/Presseye/Philip Magowan

Key man: Neil Forester is still giving his all to the Steelstown cause. Credit: INPHO/Presseye/Philip Magowan

©INPHO/Presseye/Philip Magowan

Key man: Neil Forester is still giving his all to the Steelstown cause. Credit: INPHO/Presseye/Philip Magowan

What is set to prove a fascinating battle of the Ryans could determine the outcome of tomorrow’s Ulster Club Intermediate Football Championship final at Glen, Maghera (1pm) between Derry champions Steelstown Brian Ogs and Tyrone representatives Moortown St Malachy’s.

While the Oak Leaf County side will look to powerfully-built 32-year-old veteran Ryan Devine to plunder crucial first-phase possession in the engine room, their opponents will lean on strapping 18-year-old Blaine Ryan to impose his presence in the middle third of the pitch.

Steelstown are seeking what would be another boost for Derry football and in players such as Cahir McMonagle, Eoghan Bradley, Mark Foley, Oran McMenamin and Ben McCarron, along with the hugely influential Ryan Devine, they certainly have the artillery to deliver on this.

And then, too, there is the prodigious input of former Derry senior player Neil Forester, who is still putting his nose to the grindstone.

Yet Moortown will certainly not be coming to the table cap in hand.

They may have been stretched to the limit before overcoming Tir na Nog Randalstown by 0-9 to 0-8 in their semi-final meeting but if they were, then their cohesion, spirit and pride in the jersey shone through.

Ryan ‘Butch’ Kelly leads a team that is high on passion and energy, an outfit imbued with courage and character. In Peter Devlin, Shaun Conway, Karl Hagan, Conor Quinn and Tarlach Quinn, the Tyrone title holders boast a posse of players who can prove inspirational, particularly when the chips are down.

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And Blaine Ryan will once again willingly help to shoulder what will be a heavy midfield burden conscious that to concede ground in this sector could have serious repercussions for his side.

Moortown may not quite match their opponents when it comes to scoring statistics thus far but their rugged defensive approach and willingness to go the distance even when the heat is on should stand to them.


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