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Derry U20 boss Mickey Donnelly relishing Donegal test

By John Campbell

Derry U20 football boss Mickey Donnelly may have Tyrone blood flowing through his veins but it's doubtful if anyone shares his unbridled passion to see the Oak Leaf county's fortunes improve at all levels.

The redoubtable Aghaloo clubman certainly aims to play his part in this by steering Derry to what would be an uplifting win over Donegal in tomorrow's Ulster U20 Championship quarter-final at Healy Park, Omagh tomorrow (11.45am).

While zest and optimism are inherent in his psyche, these attributes are garnished with a liberal dose of reality and that's precisely why the ebullient Donnelly takes a thoroughly grounded view of his task tomorrow.

"This Donegal side is a serious outfit," he said. "They annihilated Cavan in their first game and they will believe they can take us. It's a huge challenge, no doubt about that."

If Donegal as a team present a threat to the Oak Leaf side, then scoring ace Niall O'Donnell is their executioner-in-chief. In their 2-21 to 0-10 win over Cavan, O'Donnell hit 1-10 in a man-of-the-match performance.

Derry, though, are not short on talent. Jude McAtamney, the McWilliams brothers Oisin and Lorcan, Conor Doherty, Conor McCluskey and Padraig McGrogan are all capable players with McCluskey and McGrogan having played at senior level for Derry this year.

Meanwhile, Cavan and Armagh will meet in the Ulster Ladies Football Championship semi-final at Inniskeen tomorrow (6pm) where Aimee Mackin and Caroline O'Hanlon can prove key figures for the orchard county.

Today, Tyrone and Down will meet in the Ulster Intermediate ladies semi-final at Emyvale where veteran Kyra Trainor could make a return to action for Down.

Immediately after this, Tyrone, with Gemma Begley and Niamh Woods likely to be to the fore, will take on Antrim in the Ulster Junior final (7.00pm).

Belfast Telegraph

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