GAA Football

Kevin Loughran banking on 2013 experience to down Tyrone

Cathal McShane (Tyrone) and Kevin Loughran (Monaghan) pictured at last week's EirGrid Ulster U21 Football final launch

MONAGHAN U21 captain Kevin Loughran hopes the experience of beating Tyrone in the 2013 Ulster minor final will stand to them ahead of Wednesday’s U21 provincial decider at the Athletic Grounds.

Loughran was part of Frank Brady’s U18 Farney outfit who came from eight points down to claim Tyrone’s scalp in Clones three years ago and win their first provincial minor title in 68 years. The Red Hands, however, went one step further than Monaghan in the All-Ireland series, losing to Mayo in the decider at Croke Park. Monaghan also fell to the eventual All-Ireland winners at the semi-final stages.

“It was tough to take,” said Loughran, “but we were proud of the year we had [in 2013] and we still had the medal in the back pocket.

“We knew we had pushed ourselves as far as we could go and maybe we could have taken that extra step, but things just never worked our way.”

Monaghan swept aside Fermanagh and Armagh to reach Wednesday night's U21 final, while Tyrone beat Cavan and Donegal. Alongside Loughran, U21 team-mates Conor McCarthy, Ryan McAnespie, Conor Forde, Barry McGinn, Mickey Murnaghan, Niall Loughman, Donal Meegan, Michael O’Dowd, Adam Treanor, Feaghal McMahon and Michael McCarville were part of the minor side that won that epic 2013 minor encounter.

Sean Fox (Killyclogher), Sean Fox (Greencastle), Colm Byrne, Cillian McCann, Cathal McShane, Lee Brennan, Shea Hamill, David Mulgrew, Frank Burns, Ruairi McGlone and Ronan McGeary are among the survivors of Tyrone’s minor team of three years ago.

“The word redemption has been used a good bit around the dressing room,” said Loughran, “that maybe this is our chance of redemption from 2013.”

“And we have the experience from the minor final in 2013 beating Tyrone in the final. We know how to play in finals. That extra experience helps.”

Tyrone native Ciaran ‘Dinky’ McBride has taken the U21 reins in Monaghan and Loughran hopes the manager’s knowledge of Tyrone football will help give them the edge in Wednesday night’s intriguing decider.

“I'd say there'll be pressure on his shoulders playing against his home county, but we'd have a better insight into the style of Tyrone.”

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