Derry senior football Championship final
Magherafelt v Glen
Sunday, Celtic Park,4pm
Magherafelt assistant manager Paul Quinn has praised their players ahead of this weekend’s county final.
“They have been fantastic for us,” Quinn said.
“Last year they finished second in the league. They have been progressing really well.
“The mood is good and everything is going really well. The reserves won their championship last Saturday.
“Everyone is really looking forward to the final.
“We hope that we can finish the job this weekend.”
And he knows how good the Glen team are.
“I know Enda Gormley ( who coached the Glen minors and seniors) very well. I would have followed them when their minors were winning. So I know the quality that they have.”
While much of the attention will be on Glen’s bid to carry success at minor and u-21 football through to senior level, there’s an argument to be made that Magherafelt are also under pressure to deliver on their own potential.
They won the Derry minor championship the year before Glen did, and could have won the Ulster title as well but for Lamh Dhearg’s heroics in the fog at St Paul’s in 2010.
They also have players who were part of St Mary’s Magherafelt’s first ever MacRory Cup title, won under the stewardship of Antrim’s Kevin Brady in 2017.
They also have some star players on their team, who have not had the distraction of county football to keep them from their club.
First and foremost of those is Danny Heavron, who was a collossus for the county, but parted ways when Damien McErlain took over the role.
LIkewise, Emmett McGuckin had great potential but he also stopped playing for the county at the same time.
He now divides his time between playing with Coleraine in the Irish League, and togging out for the Rossa’s.
It was McGuckin’s late goal that earned Magherafelt their 1-8 to 0-10 win over the champions Coleraine.
Rossa then went on to beat Ballinascreen in the quarters and Banagher in the semi-finals.
They were tests of course, but they were not the level of opponents that Glen were beating. Glen beat the Loup in the first round, Lavey in the quarters and then their big rivals in the semi-finals.
On paper, it looks like Glen have had the tougher run. But there are caveats. Slaughtneil were not great, nor were the Loup when they played Glen.