Soccer

Tyrone hoping to nail down top seeding for Electric Ireland Ulster Minor Football Championship quarter-finals

Tyrone minor manager Gerard Donnelly
Tyrone minor manager Gerard Donnelly Tyrone minor manager Gerard Donnelly

Electric Ireland Ulster MFC Group B

Tyrone v Antrim (Saturday, O’Neills Healy Park, 3pm)


TYRONE are already guaranteed home advantage for their Ulster MFC quarter-final and will secure top seeding with victory over Antrim at O’Neills Healy Park today.

The defending provincial champions will be expected to complete their round robin phase with a third straight win, having seen off Cavan and Armagh in earlier rounds.

Antrim, after fighting back to draw with Armagh in their opening game, suffered a heavy 3-18 to 0-7 defeat to Cavan at Dunsilly last weekend.

They were impacted by injuries to Niall Hynds and Se Ferris, and never recovered from a shaky start. But they will look to JJ Higgins, Shea Burns and Callum Gribbin to take the game to Tyrone and give them a boost ahead of the knock-out stage.

Tyrone finished strongly with goals from Ruairi McCullagh and Aidan Hegarty to defeat Armagh by 2-9 to 1-4 at Omagh last Saturday.

Nathan Farry, Conor O’Neill, Jamie Concannon and Conor Devlin are the driving forces that make them tick, and they are determined to stretch a winning run.

After playing in front of small crowds in standalone fixtures, the Saffrons and the Red Hands will experience a big Championship atmosphere today in the curtain-raiser to the Ulster SFC semi-final between Derry and Monaghan.

“That’s one thing Ulster has been doing, it’s the only province doing it, and it’s great as it gives the 17-year-old lads that chance to play in front of the big crowds,” said Tyrone manager Gerard Donnelly 

“I don’t see the argument against – not doing it on the grounds the boys feel pressure. In last year’s Ulster final I didn’t see any of the boys feeling pressure and I thought it was the better game of the two that day, so give them the chance at those big games. It’s great the Ulster Council are still doing it. 

“It’s a double-header so it’ll give the lads the experience of playing in front of a big crowd. Look we’ll play that and the serious business then starts as we go into the knock-outs.”