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Derry kids will rise to the occasion: McErlain

By John Campbell

Derry minor team boss Damian McErlain has watched his side win the Ulster title the hard way by overcoming Down, Donegal and Cavan.

Today, though, they will face dark horses Longford in an All-Ireland quarter-final at O'Connor Park, Tullamore, that will see a contrast in styles.

Derry's fast, direct approach could pose problems for Longford's more patient policy and the Oak Leaf side will be bolstered by their provincial title triumph.

In Conor Glass and Shane McGuigan, Derry possess two of the brightest young players in the country and both could have a big impact on today's proceedings.

Glass has shown tremendous qualities of skill and leadership to date while McGuigan continues to display stunning accuracy as he cements his reputation as a potent marksman.

Cathal McCabe, Conor Berry, Jayson Matthews and Darragh Doherty help to form the backbone of the Longford side.

Derry boss McErlain has rubbished the notion that his team can withdraw into a defensive shell.

"How you set up is normally determined by the opposition that you confront but we will be going flat out to win," said the Magherafelt bakery company director.

In beating Donegal, who were rated as Ulster and All-Ireland title favourites, Derry rapped out a sharp message that they could make real headway on the All-Ireland stage and a win over Longford today would shorten the odds further on their chances of winning the national trophy.

Cavan, too, will see themselves in the running but they face a difficult assignment against Leinster champions Kildare, who beat Longford by 2-15 to 1-9 in the provincial decider.

Belfast Telegraph


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