SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINAL
SLAUGHTNEIL V GLEN
Sunday, Owenbeg, 4.30pm
SLAUGHTNEIL manager Pat Cassidy says that his team are expecting a very different Glen team to take the field this weekend in the Derry Senoir Championship semi-final.
Slaughtneil and Glen met in the final weekend of the league campaign. The winner would take the title.
The Emmett’s won the game comfortably, 3- 21 to 0-12. A reflection perhaps of the quality that they have in their team.
Yet Cassidy – who manages the team along with Paddy Flynn, Kevin Hughes and Lorcan Martin – said that they will not read anything into that result.
“That was a bad day for Glen. That league game was not a true reflection of how good Glen are. They had a bad day and we had a good day. They are a good team.”
Slaughtneil have proven that they are a very good team. They lost their bid to win five championships in a row last year, when Coleraine took the title. But they are back with a vengeance this year.
They have accounted for Newbridge and Ballinderry so far during this year’s championship campaign.
They beat the Shamrocks last day by 1-14 to 0-11.
Cassidy wasn’t overly impressed by the performance.
“Championship matches are for winning,” he said.
“It was a good enough performance but there are always things that we can improve on.
“We are still getting a few players back from the hurling last Sunday. We had a light session on Tuesday night.”
A game against Glen is a massive Derry derby. Glen are the neighbours who have watched envously as Slaughtneil have dominated. The run of Minor championship wins that Glen achieved have built the hype around the club, and league performances suggest that the Watties are getting closer to championship glory.
Cassidy wanted to play that down though.
“No matter who we are playing we will look forward to the semi-final. Every team’s ambition at the start of the year is to win the championship. It doesn’t matter what team you are playing, you want to win.
“There are four teams left. After Sunday there will be two. We hope to be one of them.”
Slaughtneil will be fancied to win though. They have massive strength and depth in their squad, and they have the experience of winning those four championships in a row from 2014 to 2017.
Patsy Bradley and Gerald Bradley are both back in the squad after recovering from injury. During the early stages, they did not have Paul McNeill, Antoin McMullan the goalkeeper or Peader Kearney.
Yet such is the strength of the squad they can handle such absences.
Glen manager Jude Donnelly had an uncomfortable day in the quarter-final.
He oversaw the Watties win over Lavey, the club he managed for a number of years, and a team on which his son plays.
“It was awkward,” he said.
“It was a tough game for me. I took them for four or five years.
“It was a big win for Glen. They were defeated by them last year. To get over the line meant a lot to them boys.”
It’s over and done with now.
And his team have turned to their game against Slaughtneil.
“It is totally different. They are going to be playing a team that has won two Ulster titles, and four or five championships.
“Slaughtneil are a remarkable side. They are one of the best teams in Ulster.
“They lost to Coleraine last year and so they will be making a big push this year.”
Glen have plenty of star quality. The leaders are Emmett Bradley and Ciaran McFaul who have lots of experience.
But the exciting new players like Jack Doherty.
Donnelly added that the league defeat to Slaughtneil is something the players have spoken about.
“They want to go out and show that they are not as bad as that.
“They are going out there with the right attitude.”