GAA Football

Belnaleck can break into exclusive club by beating Doire Trasna

AVAILABLE: Belnaleck's Kane Connor returns from suspension for their semi-final with Doire Trasna Picture: Declan Roughan
By Padraig Kelly

Ulster Junior Football Club Championship semi-final: Belnaleck, Art McMurrough’s (Fermanagh) v Doire Trasna (Derry) (Sunday, St Tiernach’s Park, 12.15pm)

BELNALECK will tomorrow attempt to join an exclusive group of Fermanagh clubs that have qualified for Ulster Club finals.

Only Roslea, Enniskillen Gaels (both football) and Lisbellaw (hurling and football) have represented the Erne county on provincial final day – and if the Art McMurrough’s overcome Doire Trasna, they will be the first Fermanagh side to reach an Ulster Junior Football Club final.

In manager Gerry Flanagan they have a good man to lead them in their pursuit of history as he was on the 1994 Leitrim team that shocked the GAA world by winning the county’s first Connacht title since 1927.

They have been talking a good game too, their confidence sky-high after they travelled to Newry in the quarter-final and defeated Down champions Dundrum 2-13 to 2-6.

In the Mourne final Dundrum had held Bright scoreless in the first half, but they were on the reverse of a similar set of circumstances as they trailed 0-9 to 0-1 at the interval.

Second-half goals from Peter Monaghan and Darragh McGurn ended any chances of a Dundrum comeback with Ciaran McBrien once again putting in a fine hour’s football for the victors.

As that match was starting, half an hour up the road Doire Trasna had just secured their own semi-final spot as they defeated Ballyhegan 4-9 to 0-10 at the Athletic Grounds.

The old adage of ‘goals win games’ certainly rang true for Paul Simpson’s side as two quick-fire braces saw them progress.

In the first half, Dee Starrett and Caolan O’Connell raised green flags in quick succession while Sean McNaught and O’Connell, again, did likewise after the break.

Fifteen wides and a number of balls dropped short does give Simpson’s men plenty to work on ahead of this Clones clash.

The Derry champions look set to be without key midfielder Caolan Doyle as he suffered a serious jaw injury in the game although Conor Houston could return.

Belnaleck, meanwhile, will be boosted by the availability of county man Kane Connor, who missed the quarter-final through suspension.

His addition can help turn that exclusive Fermanagh club from a trio into a quartet.

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