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Diamond and Spier point the way as Bellaghy reach semi-final

By John Campbell

Former Derry All-Ireland winner Damien Cassidy is currently playing a big part in nurturing a fresh raft of players who may in time wear the senior county jersey.

Cassidy is in charge of the Bellaghy side that reached the semi-finals of the Ulster club minor football tournament by beating Inniskeen Grattan's in some style yesterday (1-17 to 1-4).

The Oak Leaf boys had gone into the match buoyed by a fine opening round win over Dunloy (1-18 to 1-4) and will now meet St Eunan's Letterkenny in the last four with Crossmaglen Rangers and Ballyholland crossing swords in the other tie.

Inniskeen Grattan's entered yesterday's contest buttressed by fine credentials having won the Monaghan minor championship but they were forced to play second fiddle to their Oak Leaf opponents for the greater part of the game.

Manager Cassidy was a quality forward in his playing days and he has obviously passed on a few tips to some of his current crop of youngsters judging by their clinical finishing this occasion.

In Lorcan Spier and Charlie Diamond in particular Bellaghy appear to have gifted sharpshooters who look more than capable of bringing opponents to their knees.

Yesterday Spier scored an impressive 0-8 with two of his scores coming from frees while Diamond was not too far behind with 0-5.

If they registered the lion's share of scores, then the rest of the team put in the work-rate and tigerish tackling that prevented Inniskeen from getting into their stride.

Bellaghy's prospects of landing the trophy have now brightened significantly but Cassidy is looking no further than their meeting with St Eunan's on Boxing Day.

Meanwhile, All-Ireland champions Dublin formed the opposition to Meath in a special fund-raising match for Meath GAA stalwart Sean Cox who was seriously injured in an assault that took place at Anfield where he had gone to attend a European Cup match recently.

Thousands of fans turned out to help Sean's family in what proved a hugely emotional occasion.

On the Ulster inter-county front, Darragh Canavan, son of the legendary Peter, is hoping to get an early chance to show his paces now that he has been included in the Tyrone senior football squad.

Darragh has been impressive at under-age level and his elevation to Mickey Harte's senior panel comes as no big surprise although he will have a lot to live up given his father's imposing pedigree.

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