Back to the future as Derry and Monaghan lock horns in Ulster minor final
IT'S back to the future for the Derry and Monaghan minors on July 13 when the Ulster rivals meet again in the final of the provincial Championship.
Having beaten Monaghan with a last-minute goal in the preliminary round, Derry suffered a one-point defeat to Cavan so their path to their fourth final on-the-trot has taken them through the newly-introduced backdoor system in the Ulster Minor Championship.
Paddy Campbell's side bounced back from losing to Cavan with a 3-14 to 1-5 win over Armagh followed by a 2-11 to 0-5 victory over Fermanagh back in May which put them back on track to retain their Championship crown.
Having beaten a much-fancied Tyrone team (2-10 to 1-8) in the semi-final last weekend, the Derry youngsters are now seen as favourites to beat Monaghan and add the U17 title to the county's U20 Championship success.
Of course, the Farney youngsters will have something to say about that and after losing their opener, they've had a similar route through to the final.
In the backdoor route, Monaghan have had emphatic wins over Antrim, Donegal and Down and comprehensively beat Cavan in the semi-final (2-16 to 2-4). With four wins on the bounce, Monaghan carry momentum and form into the final as they look to settle the score after their first-round defeat to Derry.
Last year sponsors Electric Ireland launched a celebration of the minor footballers skill and commitment through the Electric Ireland GAA Minor Star Awards.
The awards recognise the brightest stars of the football and hurling championships each year with Kerry's David Clifford rightly acknowledged as last year's Football Player of the Year.
Players are selected by a mixture of public vote and Electric Ireland's panel of judges - Sean Cavanagh, Daniel Goulding, Ollie Canning and Michael Fennelly.
Each week three players from both codes across Ireland are nominated for Player of the Week, with the winners being decided by public vote on the Electric Ireland Facebook page. The two winners are then shortlisted for the Electric Ireland Minor Star Award's Team of the Year in September.