Red Hughs slight favourites ahead of Junior A final joust with Urris

Red Hughs slight favourites ahead of Junior A final joust with Urris

Red Hughs and Urris go head to head this Saturday in O’Donnell Park in pursuit of the Donegal Junior A Championship title.

Urris are flying the Inishowen flag as they chase a sixth Donegal Junior A championship title and a first in four seasons.

They won the last of their five titles back in 2014 when they put Naomh Ultan to the sword in the decider.

Red Hughs on the other hand are on the trail of a third junior crown having previously raised aloft the Dr McCloskey Cup in 1946 and again in 1981.

They defeated Corlea in the ‘46 final and they overcame Kilcar in the ‘81 decider.

Former Naomh Conaill player and mentor Seosamh McKelvey, who is in his second stint at the club, is the Red Hughs manager.

His team has played six games on their way to the final, one more than Urris who have only five played.

Red Hughs were in Group A along with Carndonagh, Robert Emmett’s, and St Mary’s, Convoy.

They shot the lights out in their first two games with a 0-21 to 1-4 home win over Carndonagh in the first round. And they followed it up with a local derby 5-20 to 0-2 win over Robert Emmett’s in Castlefin.

They had only two points to spare at the end of their round three clash with Naomh Padraig, Muff in Ture. They won that game 1-9 to 1-7.

They suffered their only defeat away to Convoy. The locals won by seven points, 1-10 to 0-6.

Damien Browne is their key marksman and top scorer but in the group stages they’ve had a good spread of scorers with Pauric McMenamin, Johnny Carlin, Calvin Bradley and Peadar McGlinchey all featuring regularly on the score sheet.

It was far from plain sailing for Urris in the group stages. They were in a four team group along with Moville, Na Rossa and Letterkenny Gaels.

They defeated Moville at home, lost away to Na Rossa and drew at home against Letterkenny Gaels.

Red Hughs have scored 7-76 in their six games while Urris have chalked up 7-48, in five games.

It is significant that Alan Friel scored two of the goals and Dean Kelly the other in their surprise 3-4 to 0-11 win over one of the championship favourites St Mary’s, Convoy, in last Sunday’s semi-final.

“Alan and Dean did not play at all in the league. They had been out through injury but they have been really brilliant since the came back and they have made a big difference,” said the Urris manager, Sean Paul Doherty.

“And with those two back we are really looking forward to the final.

“Since the end of the league we have been building nicely and the team is in good shape heading into the final.”

Urris’ last Junior final appearance was in 2014 when they overcame a strong Naomh Ultan. They won that game 3-5 to 0-8.

“We won four years ago and reached the Ulster final,” Sean Paul added.

“But there were a number or retirements. A number of lads emigrated and a number of lads stepped away altogether. It is good to be back on our feet again after a number of poor years and teams like Red Hughs and Convoy might not have been expecting to see us in the final at the start of the year.”

It is no coincidence either that Urris’ form has greatly improved in the last month or so since the arrival of former Derry All-Ireland winning trainer from 1993 and former Donegal manager Mickey Moran to help out with training.

“Mickey holidays in the area and has been giving us a hand in the last few months and is doing a fabulous job,” the manager said.

“He is a brilliant coach as we all know and he has given us a great boost. He is up with us once a week in the last month or so and has taken a great shine to the lads and the boys are really enjoying the training.”

Red Hughs are appearing in their third final in the space of four seasons and after losing to Naomh Colmcille last year and Naomh Ultan in 2015, they are hoping it will be third time lucky.

Playing in Division Three, they play in a higher division than Urris. However, it will not gone unnoticed that Urris ended St Mary’s, Convoy’s championship dream last Sunday in the semi-final. St Mary’s are a mid-table Division Three team.

Verdict: Red Hughs