Ballinderry can win key battles
By Ciaran Woods
DON’T be surprised if the photographers at Healy Park on Sunday miss some of the key incidents in the first five minutes of the game. The reason being that their lenses will be scouring the stand and terraces, in search of Ronan McGuckin.
The Ballinderry clubman has dominated the build-up to the game due to his absence from the Errigal Ciaran camp, creating a situation which few involved with Errigal would have envisaged just a few weeks ago.
There’s no doubt that his absence will already have had an adverse affect on the Dunmoyle outfit in terms of preparation, while on Sunday afternoon they will miss his decision-making along the line during the white heat of championship battle. It’s been a turbulent fortnight for Errigal, and it will be interesting to see their reaction.
Ballinderry meanwhile have been a shining example of consistency and calm. They have been building year on year under Martin McKindless, and retaining the Derry title as they did just a few weeks back is no mean feat. However, they will be the first to acknowledge that they have reached this stage without ever having hit top gear, and the Shamrocks will know that they will have to find a higher plain at Healy Park if they are to emerge from this particular battle.
Saying that the midfield battle will be important sounds like a worn out cliche, but in this instance it actually applies. Enda Muldoon was simply majestic around the middle third for Ballinderry in their Derry final, and was the driving force behind their success. This weekend he faces an Errigal midfield pairing of Enda and Cormac McGinley, formidable opponents by any standards. Although the clash of the two Enda’s would be a sight worth the admission fee on its own, it is more likely that Ballinderry Enda will be picked up by Cormac McGinley, the former Tyrone full-back’s defensive qualities set to be put to good use.
There are a host of other tasty tussles set to be played out on Sunday afternoon. Peter Harte on Raymond Wilkinson, Kevin McGuckin on Damien McDermott, Davy Harte on Conleith Gilligan. Which manager gets the majority of their individual match-ups right could well dictate which side sets the early pace in this showdown, and if one side can eke out a lead then it could well set them up for victory.
That’s where Ballinderry could well steal an edge, with Errigal missing their manager’s input and attention to detail, handing the Shamrocks a slim advantage.