Ulster U-20 Football
Antrim v Tyrone
Saturday, Lavey, 2.30pm
ANTRIM u-20 manager Hugh McGettigan has warned that star midfielder Pat Shivers deserves the time to develop just like everyone else as the Saffrons aim for shock number two when they meet Tyrone in the Ulster semi-final on Saturday.
The Cargin man had already come to prominence for his club’s minors, and he enhanced his reputation further with five points in Antrim’s 1-9 to 2-4 win over Derry at the Dub last Friday night.
“With young players some days you have good days and some days you have bad days,” said McGettigan.
“Last year he was impressive for Cargin and working with Damian Cassidy up there will be great for his experience.
“Like a lot of these kids, they are still a long way off. It’s a better barometer than minor but u-20 is still a long, long way off senior football. They are still so young.
“But he is working with a very experienced club team as well as ourselves. If he learns from the likes of Mick McCann, Kieran Close, Tomas McCann and Kevin O’Boyle, then that’s a great place to develop your football.”
Friday’s final whistle was warmly greeted by a vociferous crowd at the compact Belfast venue.
McGettigan, who has toiled with the county’s underage squads for years, was delighted to get the win – albeit he said that it was more of a surprise outside the camp than in.
“The Dub was a great venue for it and there was a nice crowd at the game, and being under lights added to it as well.
“It was really nice for the lads to play there and once we got our noses in front the crowd really got behind us.
“It was exciting right to the end and I think we went to the 70th minute in the second half. It was a great night for us.
“We have some good players there and some players who have been down the line with MacRory and with their universities. We had players from St Brigid’s who had good experience from playing in the Ulster Club U-20 competition last season.
“That all helps and it all blended on the field in a game that was difficult to play in for both teams given the conditions.”
McGettigan was at the Athletic Grounds on Saturday afternoon to spy on their potential semi-final opponents.
Tyrone overcame Armagh after extra-time with the wind causing havoc. It may not have been their best outing, but McGettingan has said that Paul Devlin’s side remains one of the favourites not only for Ulster but the All-Ireland.
“We met in the league and they really put us to the sword.
“Since then they have really stacked up the aces and got some top lads back.
“Obviously they are one of the favourites for the All-Ireland never mind the Ulster, there is no question about that.
“You could really see their quality against Armagh, everyone who came off the bench was better than the next.
“They have class all over the pitch so we have a lot of improvement to make in a very short window.”
TYRONE goalkeeper Lorcan Quinn has said that it will take a good side to break the Red Hands as they prepare for their Ulster semi-final against Antrim.
Paul Devlin’s side are at the last-four stage courtesy of a 1-9 to 0-8 win over Armagh at the Athletic Grounds on Saturday.
It was a win that was dug out given the position that they were in early in the second half. They were down to 14 men following Ryan Jones’s dismissal at the end of the first period, the Orchard county had just gone three points up and the wind, albeit swirling and diagonal, did appear to be favouring the hosts.
From there Tyrone out-scored Armagh 1-6 to 0-2 and they will enter Saturday’s match as heavy favourites.
“It was character, there is deep, deep character in this team,” said Quinn.
“It took balls and we dug deep to get over the line. We showed what we were all about. Happy days, it was a great result for us.
“There is massive, massive depth in this squad too. It’s not just one to 15 or one to 24, it’s one to 30
“This team, the backroom team, it takes every man to get us over the line.”
This will be the second Tyrone and Antrim clash of the year as the sides met in the league in January. Devlin’s side won that 2-10 to 1-3 but Quinn is expecting a much tougher assignment this time.
“We now Antrim are going to come out and be a completely different team to that league match.
“Championship football is a completely different animal to league football so we will be ready for their challenge.
“We won’t be taking them lightly when the game comes around.”
His side may have progressed to an Ulster semi-final but the goalkeeper’s union was out in force as Quinn sent his support to Armagh net-minder Shea Magill.
The Orchard shot-stopper was deceived by the wind as Tiarnan Quinn’s effort from 40 yards swerved over him and into the net for the crucial Red Hand goal, and the Donaghmore man took no satisfaction out of it.
“It’s hard when balls are coming in with that wind,” said Quinn.
“You saw with the Armagh goalkeeper. I understand from a goalkeeper’s point of view how tough that is going to be to deal with.
“I was lucky enough to deal with a few that came in just under the bar but the wind definitely does make it so much more difficult.
“It slows some up, it sends some longer and you never really know what is coming at you on days when it’s that bad.
“I understand how hard it will be for the lad but he just has to keep the head up and go again.”