Aodh Ruadh and Burt hope to bring down the curtain on their football seasons this Saturday, in Convoy, with some silverware.
They meet in the in what is a novel U-21B final pairing (throw-in 2 pm). For Aodh Ruadh,, the holders of five U-21A titles, Saturday’s decider is their first U-21B final.
The last of their U-21A triumphs was all of 20 years ago, back in 1993.
“We have been ravaged by emigration in recent years and we are in Division Three and the Intermediate championship and we are hoping a win on Saturday will kick-start our return back up the ladder again,” said Aodh Ruadh manager Maurice McLaughlin, who is also the man in charge of the club’s seniors.
“But this is a good group of lads and are a very young; up to eight of the starting team were minors this year.
“Our run to the final is testament to the great work being done by Shane Ward and Gregory Sweeney with this group over the last few years since they were U-16.”
Peter Boyle, Gary Carty, Conor Patton, Eamon McGrath, Colm Kelly, David McGurrin, Ronan Drummond, Ronan McGurrin and Niall Harley are the players with senior football experience in McLaughlin’s side.
They all featured in this season’s Division Three league and the club’s march to the Intermediate Championship semi-final, which they lost to eventual champions Naomh Muire.
Saturday’s decider is only Burt’s second U-21 final. Their only other appearance was in 2004, when they lost to Milford.
“We are strong down the middle of the team, but we don’t have a big squad. They are also very young; only two of the team that started the semi-final against Glenfin are over age next year,” Burt manager Ciaran Dowds told the Democrat.
County senior hurler and a Nicky Rakcard All-Star award winner, Christy McDermott, carries the main scoring threat up front for the Inishowen men.
McDermott bagged 2-4 from full-forward in their 2-8 to 1-4 semi-final win over Glenfin.
County minor Conor Harkin, Darren Gallagher, a member of this season’s Donegal U-17 development squad (both in the half-forward line) and Paul McHugh, at midfield, also turned in big semi-final performances.
McDermott’s clash with Gary Carty is one of the key duels on Saturday,
Colm Kelly (also a fine hurler) with an ankle injury, is Aodh Ruadh’s only injury concern while Derry City commitments may deny Burt the services of Georgie Kelly, one their top forwards. Kelly also missed semi-final win over Glenfin.
Verdict: Aodh Ruadh