Naomh Colum Cille out to upset the odds again in Tyrone senior hurling decider against Éire Óg
LCC Group Tyrone SHC final: Éire Óg, Carrickmore v Naomh Colum Cille (today, Healy Park, 3.30pm)
THE dominance of Tyrone's big two has been broken, and breakthrough finalists Naomh Colum Cille will contest today's Senior Hurling Championship final.
They take on the defending champions in a departure from the virtually annual meeting of Éire Óg and Eoghan Ruadh.
Éire Óg go into the Healy Park decider as firm favourites to retain the Benburb Cup, but they will encounter a ferocious challenge from the men from Clonoe/Coalisland.
Naomh Colum Cille qualified for their first final since 2011 with a sensational win over Eoghan Ruadh, stunning the Dungannon men with a passionate display in the final group game.
Their search for a first ever Championship title sees them enter into a David v Goliath battle, but their 1-12 to 0-13 win over Dungannon will send them into the decider with confidence that they can spark a shock.
Chris Kearns, Chris Cross, Rory O'Neill and team captain Paul Maguire will lead their challenge as they take on one of the giants of Tyrone hurling, and they go into the game with no pressure, without the weight of expectation resting on their shoulders.
Carrickmore will not leave anything to chance as they go after a 29th county Championship crown, and their preparations have been as intensive as ever.
They are strong in every sector, with Oran McKee, Dermot Begley, Bryan McGurk, Aidy Kelly and Sean Óg Grogan, along with team captain Conor Grogan set to take the fight to the underdogs.
The Éire Óg skipper admitted that his side will have to perform to a high level to get the better of a talented opponent.
“We know the very difficult challenge facing us against NCC. We were very lucky to come away with a narrow victory over them in the League and they have quality all over the park as they proved in the semi-final,” said Grogan.
NCC skipper Paul Maguire said the players want to make the best of a golden opportunity.
“We haven't been in the final for eleven years. Yes we have won Juniors, but we don't want to miss another opportunity for a Benburb Cup,” he said. Who knows when we get another shot at it?”
In the Junior Championship final, Eoghan Ruadh face Omagh, and the Dungannon men will be fancied to get the better of an emerging St Enda's side.
Packed full of experience and classy hurlers, Eoghan Ruadh will approach this game with determination and conviction.
Skipper Lorcan Devlin, Tiernan Morgan, Ruairi Devlin, SP McKernan and Rory Weir are the men who can guide them to success this weekend.
Omagh are an up and coming team and have been making steady progress since the revival of the club a few years ago.
Tyrone player Ciaran Lagan is a key man, for the Omagh side, with extensive county experience and the leadership qualities that his side will need.