GAA Football

Banagher and Ballinderry to battle it out in Derry SFC

Mark Lynch was impressive for Banagher in their win over Kilrea  
Michael McMullan

THE remaining quarter-final in this year’s Derry SFC takes place on Friday, with the rescheduled tie between Banagher and Ballinderry at Owenbeg (8pm).

Both sides are coming into the game with different paths. An expansive, attacking brand of football saw Banagher rack up a 3-18 against Kilrea in round one. That performance was typified by the running power of young wing-back Ryan McGillion, midfielders Brian Óg McGilligan and county player Mark Lynch. Ballinderry, for their part, needed an inspired performance from Raymond Wilkinson and a timely goal from defender Ryan Scott to eventually turn around their fortunes in a tight affair with Bellaghy.

Banagher boss Paddy Downey will have faced a psychological challenge this week getting the eight dual players back up from the canvas after last weekend’s hurling final defeat. Ballinderry are still waiting on skipper Connor Nevin, who missed the last outing and is rated 50-50 ahead of the Owenbeg showdown.

The impact of Ballinderry’s bench was a factor in the closing stages of their win over Bellaghy, but Coilín Devlin is "having a break" and won’t be available for selection. Ryan Bell and James Conway will have an important role against the in-form Banagher midfield pairing of Mark Lynch and Brian Óg McGilligan, with Downey needing his duo on the front foot to carry the game to the Shamrocks.

Martin McKinless and his management team will have their homework done and won’t afford Banagher the same room to run through and will need a strong presence across the middle of the park. If McGillion was impressive on his debut, then Ballinderry’s penetration from deep comes from Gareth McKinless - if they afford him the luxury of playing in the half-back line. Eamon Wilson, Declan Bell and Ryan Scott are all accomplished man-markers to release the versatile Derry defender.

Eunan Murphy, Peter Hagan and Shane Farren were a potent trio up front for Banagher, but will receive closer attention this time. Banagher shipped 2-14 against Kilrea and it will give Ballinderry a sign to go for the jugular. Conleith Gilligan, Daniel McKinless and Wilkinson will provide the firepower.

James Bateson and Dermot McGuckin will be pushing hard for a start, with Ballinderry’s attacking options expected to see them through.

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