Corduff entering unknown territory

CM Precision Components Ulster Club MF quarter-final: Carrickmore (Tyrone) v Corduff (Monaghan) (tomorrow, Woodlands, Finaghy Road, 4pm)

In Monaghan, the minor football championship is graded and, for the first time, Corduff reached the top tier this season. 

Not content with that progression, Corduff went on to win the Farney U18 title and launch themselves on to the provincial stage.

Tomorrow, Corduff will tangle with Tyrone standard-bearers Carrickmore in the Ulster quarter-finals, at Woodlands in Belfast. It’s a new experience for the Farney fellows and one they are ready to embrace with enthusiasm.

Neither team knows much about the other but that is not causing either too much sleep.

“We know nothing at all about the Carrickmore team,” admits Corduff official Ben Woods. 

“This is all new to us and we will just go up to Belfast and see what happens. Everyone is looking forward to the challenge.”

It is much the same story from the Carrickmore camp. 

“We are also in unknown territory and we are in the dark about the Corduff challenge. It is 12 years since we were last in the Ulster quarter-finals but there has been a good underage structure in the club,” said Carrickmore manager Ciarán McAleer.

“We beat St Michael’s from Donegal in the Paul McGirr Tournament so these lads have stepped up to minor with a good background.”

The Tyrone champions will probably start favourites to reach the last four but Corduff could be dark horses. 

They beat Aghamullen by 2-10 to 1-6 in the Monaghan final and they have captain Fergal Hanratty and Sean Burns in their front line of attack, two players who know where the posts are.

The midfield maestros are Sean McEneaney and Killian Mallon with Cahir Lowndes at centre-back plus Killian Hand and Michael Connolly, also in defence.

The team is big down the middle.

Carrickmore used 26 players in the Tyrone championship and now have 31 in the panel. 

Among them are centre-half and captain James McGurk and full-forward-cum-midfilder Conor Loughran, both Tyrone county minors. 

Ciarán Daly, who scored 1-7 in the county final against Ardboe, is there, too.

“Despite mentioning those players, we don’t have any outstanding players. There are others that we felt could well have been in the Tyrone team,” said manager McAleer. 

“Our main problem is that we played the league and championship finals in June. I don’t think that match fitness will be a problem, hopefully not. 

“Some of the lads have been playing with their schools and we have had a few challenge games.”