Hurling and camogie

Tyrone's big two battle it out for hurling supremacy in Red Hand county

County star Bryan McGurk will be a key figure for Carrickmore as they seek to hold onto their Tyrone senior hurling title when they face Dungannon in today's final at Healy Park Picture: Philip Walsh
BY FRANCIS MOONEY

LCC Group Tyrone Senior Hurling Championship final: Eire Og, Carrickmore v Eoghan Ruadh, Dungannon (today, Healy Park, 2.30pm)

Tyrone hurling's big two will once again battle for pride and supremacy in today's senior championship final.

Holders Carrickmore halted Dungannon's bid for three-in-a-row in last season's decider, and face a backlash at Healy Park.

This fierce rivalry never fails to find expression on county final day, and both squads are approaching this one with their usual intent.

The Eire Og club's bid to hold on to the Benburb Cup is built on strong foundations, but a young Eoghan Ruadh side is confident of overhauling the holders

Both clubs have once again made it through to the final with comfortable semi-finals wins.

Carrickmore scored a 5-32 to 0-6 success over Omagh St Enda's at Pairc Colmcille, while Dungannon were equally dominant in their clash with Naomh Colum Cille at Galbally, running out 3-22 to 0-7 winners.

Bryan McGurk will be a key figure for Carrickmore, along with Conor Grogan, Dean Rafferty, Lochrann O Donnghaile, Jarlath Kerr and Darragh Grogan.

Dungannon ace Damian Casey will be looking to nail the scores that will bring the trophy back to east Tyrone, while Cain Ferguson, Rory Weir, Lorcan Devlin, Sean Donaghy, Cathal McErlean and Mickey Little also have important roles to play.

Carrickmore manager Damian Maguire, along with Ballycastle man Cormac Donnelly, has been working hard on getting his players to the right pitch following a disrupted season

“It was a very stop-start year. We're going since April and the Derry League was very stop-start and hard to get games,” he said.

“They were aiming for a September finish as normal and now we're in to November. It has been very difficult to build momentum.”

But he has no doubt that his players will be ready for the big day and enjoy the occasion.

“Every year you get to a final, it's great, and the guys look forward to playing in it.

“It's a big day in Tyrone, and that's where you want to be. We'll enjoy it as best we can.

“It's the same every year, it doesn't matter what happens before or after, it's all on the day and who deals with it the best, who wants it the most.”

Dungannon attacker Damian Casey conceded that Carrickmore were deserving winners of last year's thrilling final.

“Any time you lose a county final, it's always a disappointment, and last year with Covid, and the year that it was, it was far from ideal.

“But Carrickmore were obviously better prepared than we were and were probably deserving winners on the day.

“We'll certainly be trying our best to get the Benburb Cup back,” he said.

He expects another tough, tight decider between two teams that know each other well and carry a mutual respect alongside the fierce rivalry.

“It will be a tough one, it always is. I'm playing since 2010 and barring one or two county finals in that period, it has always been down to a point or two,” he said.

“We know, and they know that if both teams turn up it's going to be nip and tuck.

“It will be a tight affair and hopefully we'll come out the right side of it.”

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Hurling and camogie