O'Doherty has trophy double in his sights
It promises to be a busy sporting weekend for Cormac O'Doherty, one of the province's most exciting young hurlers.
Tonight he will line out for St Patrick's College, Maghera against Cross and Passion College, Ballycastle in the Ulster Colleges Mageean Cup final at The Dub. Then on Sunday he will be in the Slaughtneil team for the Ulster senior club final against Loughgiel.
While O'Doherty is clearly up for both tests, St Patrick's coach Sean Marty Lockhart preaches caution.
"It is tough on him to have to play two big finals so close to each other," said Lockhart.
"Cormac is a tremendous player. He was in the St Patrick's football team that won the Hogan last spring and he has an O'Keefe medal (All-Ireland schools' hurling) from three years ago.
"He has just got better and better and the fact that he is due to play in the Ulster senior club final shows the level he has reached."
O'Doherty's influence in St Patrick's semi-final win over St Mary's was pronounced when he scored 2-8 – all from frees – but the Maghera side also have competent finishers in the shape of Liam O'Hara and Ciaran Steele.
Cross and Passion looked sharp in overcoming St Killian's Garron Tower in their semi-final by 1-15 to 0-11 and coach Joe Cassidy will place his faith in players such as Cormac McClafferty, Conor Christie and Caolan McCaughan for scores in tonight's contest.
Cassidy is well aware that the Maghera seat of learning has now attained considerable status in hurling terms having won the All-Ireland title three years ago, but Lockhart plays down the theory that will give his side any sort of psychological advantage.
"From what I have heard, Cross and Passion showed a great work-rate and fine stickwork in their semi-final and you can be sure that they will be very much up for this final," said Lockhart.
"They will be keen to move on and represent Antrim in the All-Ireland series but we want to do our school and Derry proud."