Sport

Past winners square up in exciting start to Derry SFC

Eoin Bradley (above) and his brother Paddy could hold the key for Glenullin in Thursday's Derry SFC game against Coleraine  
Séamus Mullan

THE Derry SFC gets off to a mouthwatering start on Thursday, with a blockbuster clash between Coleraine and Glenullin at Owenbeg (7.30pm).

Both teams have won the John McLaughlin Cup in the last decade and, with league form meaning little, this one looks wide open. Glenullin may have been having their worst league run in years but when the championship comes around, they are a different team. Coleraine, the 2010 winners, have loads of experience, but the loss of key forward Ciarán McGoldrick has been a big setback. He had surgery on a leg injury and has not played this season. He is unlikely to feature here or possibly for the rest of the season.

Glenullin will be without Gerard O’Kane who has a match suspension from the defeat against Dungiven from last year. John O’Kane could have the unenviable task of marking powerful Eoghan Rua full-forward and top scorer Colm McGoldrick.

Both teams are loaded with experience, but it is two of Glenullin’s 30-something forwards – Eoin and Paddy Bradley – who could hold the key for Glenullin. They will face a strongly defensive Coleraine set-up who will shadow the brothers wherever they go. But it is one thing to be good defensively and another to get winning scores. Seán McGoldrick and Seán McLaughlin, the two longest serving managers in Derry football, will be hoping to get a better return from their attack than has been the case in the league.

In the league, Coleraine have the second worst scoring record and the second best defensive record. Basil Rafferty’s Glenullin, who play a more attacking type of game, have scored more but conceded more than Coleraine.

If Coleraine can curb the natural scoring instincts of the Bradley brothers, they have a real good chance of progressing but that will not be easy.

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