Selection headaches for Burt
IT SEEMS like every weekend recently, there has been a Burt team in Ulster Club action. Last weekend it was their hurlers who were contesting the Ulster Junior hurling final against Creggan Kickham’s, which finished in a 0-10 each draw.
This weekend, it’s the turn of the club’s footballers to step centre-stage when they take on Cremartin in their Ulster Junior Club Football semi-final. The hurling replay is fixed for next weekend, while should the footballers win this Sunday then their Ulster football decider would be played the following weekend.
It’s certainly a busy time to be a Burt follower, in both codes. And it’s certainly a busy time to be a Burt manager, as football boss Ronan McLaughlin has been finding out in recent weeks as he attempts to steer his side towards a provincial title, while at the same time accommodating the title push by the small ball side.
McLaughlin certainly has a few selection headaches ahead of this weekend’s game. Joe Boyle, their second highest scorer this season so far, will learn his fate tonight (Thursday) at an appeal meeting in Armagh against his sending off in their previous Ulster outing against Bredagh.
There was also disappointing news for McLaughlin when midfielder Eamon Reddin, the only Burt player with senior inter-county football experience, damaged ligaments last weekend, with the injury set to rule him out for the remainder of the season.
Mickey McCann could come into the reckoning following a lengthy lay-off, having proven his fitness for the hurling side against Creggan last weekend. However, the fact that he has played no football since the end of September could make McLaughlin reluctant to throw him straight in the deep end.
The Burt attackers are sure to have felt the sharp side of their manager’s tongue in recent training sessions. In their win over Bredagh, where the Donegal champions had just a point to spare, it was their defensive players who accounted for the majority of their scores, with Enda McDermott hitting 1-2 from centre-back, full-back Paul O’Brien helping himself to a point and wing-back Paul McHugh converting a free-kick to contribute 1-4 of their 1-7 total over the hour.
Key once again to their chances of progress will be midfielder Kevin McDermott. He is superbly strong in the air, rarely gives away possession and gives Burt a real foot hold around the middle of the park.
It is sure to be another hard-fought and low-scoring encounter this Sunday afternoon, and having come through a quarter-final which saw just four scores in the whole of the second half, that’s a situation in which Burt should feel pretty comfortable.