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McGrath young guns aiming for Ulster title glory

By John Campbell

Bryansford manager Peter McGrath has dined at the top table in terms of achieving GAA success but his hunger for silverware is far from sated.

It was as Down boss that McGrath plotted All-Ireland glory in 1991 and 1994 and since then he has busied himself on various fronts within the Association.

But it's in his current role as boss of the Bryansford U21 side that McGrath's competitive juices are really flowing again and when his team meet Derry aces Ballinderry in the Ulster U21 club final on Sunday at the Kickhams Creggan complex (2.00) he is hoping that they can hit peak form.

In overcoming Emerald Sarsfields in the semi-final, Bryansford certainly showed that they have the desire and ambition to succeed but Ballinderry's form to date has impressed McGrath.

"They are a good side with some quality players who have senior experience," points out McGrath.

"They have been scoring well and that helps to breed confidence. This will be a particularly difficult challenge for us but it's one that we must hurdle if we are to finish our campaign on a high."

Danny Savage and David McKibben have largely been the architects of Bryansford's progress, the former's scoring exploits underpinning the team's dominance of games.

The duo scored 0-13 in the semi-final win with Savage pocketing 0-9. Chris Clarke came off the bench to snap up 0-2.

Ballinderry, though, will bring their own special skills to the table.

Ryan Bell is proving one of the best young players in the province while Daniel McKinless is a lethal predator.

Aaron Devlin and Gareth McKinless are currently along with Bell in Brian McIver's Derry senior panel while Fintan Bell and Matt Quinn are other key members of the Ballinderry side.

In beating Armagh Harps in the semi-final, Ballinderry revealed a smooth mechanism and feisty spirit that will sustain them against the Down representatives on Sunday.

Meanwhile, St Colman's College Newry, who won both the MacRory and Hogan Cups in 2010 and 2011, will meet St Patrick's College, Maghera in tomorrow's MacRory Cup semi-final at Dunmoyle, Ballygawley.

The Newry outfit overcame Omagh CBS by 1-16 to 1-12 in the quarter-final when a fisted goal by Dara Noonan proved crucial but coach Cathal Murray acknowledges that they face a stiff test tomorrow.

"These are two well-matched sides and there will be a lot to play for as St Patrick's have a proud tradition in the competition," explains former Down senior player Murray.

Maghera created an upset when they beat St Michael's Enniskillen, the current holders of the trophy, in their semi-final.

Coach Martin McConnell, who has welded together a side that embraces pace and physical power, accepts that his team will face their biggest challenge to date tomorrow.

"The standard of play in the competition this year has been high and we know that the bar will be raised now," he says.

"But we hope we can meet the challenge although you would have to accept the St Colman's recent track record is impressive."

Belfast Telegraph


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