ULSTER JUNIOR HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP

Setanta face a stern test on Sunday against Gort Na Mona

Another big day for Donegal champions

Tom Comack

Reporter:

Tom Comack

Email:

sport@donegaldemocrat.com

Ulster Junior Hurling

Setanta supporters will be hoping their team can keep their Ulster run going this weekend.

Donegal hurling champions Setanta are back in Ulster Junior Hurling Championship action on Sunday when they face Gort Na Mona from Antrim, in Owenbeg (2.30pm).
The prize for the victors is a crack at Ulster glory and an Ulster final meeting with Derry champions, Na Magha.
Setanta defeated St Eunan’s in the Donegal final to claim a first Donegal title in nine seasons. And they followed up that win with a hard fought first round win over Ballela from Down, in Letterkenny.
Kevin Campbell hit 0-7, Declan Coulter 0-6 and Bernard Lafferty the goal in the 1-18 to 2-8 win over the Down champions.
Gort Na Mona are the Antrim junior champions and it took them two games to get over Armagh champions Derrynoose in the first round.
The first meeting surprisingly ended in a draw, before Gort Na Mona won the replay with five points to spare.
“Gort Na Mona are a strong side and will be by far and away the stiffest test we have faced so far this year,” said Setanta long serving manager, Paul Campbell.
“We are going to have to play a lot better than we did against Ballela the last day if we are to have a chance.
“I watched them in the replay against Derrynoose. They have a very good goalkeeper. Conor McCann is his name. He played U-21 for Antrim a few years ago.
“The centre half-back Gavin McKenna is a good player too. He also played U-21 for Antrim.
“And their centre half-forward Martin Ward is a real handful. He is 6’5’’/6’6’’ and is good off both sides.
“We know what is facing us and the bottom line is our big men Danny Cullen, Kevin Campbell and Declan Coulter are going to have to step up and produce big performances.”
Other than goalkeeper Ciaran Bellew (suspended) and the long term injured James Callaghan, Campbell has a full squad to select from.
Bellew is serving a ban after receiving a red card in the second half against Ballela.
Gary McGettigan recruited from Strabane Shamrocks is expected to deputise between the posts for Bellew.
But otherwise the team is expected to be along the lines of the one that started the quarter-final.
The game is just going to come a little too early for the experienced Callaghan.
“James is making good progress and he is back doing light jogging. He picked up a knee injury at the start of the summer and has been out since.
“He’s not far away and if we were to go through on Sunday he could be fit for the final.”
Despite the inclement weather in the last couple of weeks, Setanta have got in a number of good training sessions and they are winding down for Sunday’s showdown.
“It hasn’t been easy with the rain and there were a number of the lads concentrating on football and training with Red Hugh’s in preparation for the junior football final.
Damien Browne, Jonathan Carlin and Colm Melaugh are dual players and featured for Red Hugh’s in last Saturday’s junior football final against Naomh Colmcille.