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Fierce Rivalry Could Go To The Wire

Foreglen's defence about to snuff out another Castledawson attack in the Semi-Final.

McFeely Group Derry IFC Final

O’Brien’s Foreglen v John Mitchel’s Claudy

Celtic Park


Barry Cassidy

“Give the people what they want” sang the O’Jays.

Claudy and Foreglen are big fans.

The sides met in the league back in April where they finished on 0-08 apiece in a game packed full of incident. John Mitchel’s went on to lift the league trophy while Foreglen’s form was patchy, the O’Brien’s finishing in 6th place.

In championship action, both have had to come through an extra game for good measure. Steelstown produced a Herculean comeback to lead in the closing stages after being ten points adrift and it took a late Aaron Kerrigan free to send it to a replay.

Mitchel’s edged past Steelstown in the replay and victories over Lissan and Drumsurn booked their trip to Celtic Park on Sunday.

Foreglen’s baptism of fire came against Faughanvale, where it was O’Brien’s who had to launch the comeback, eventually drawing level through a late Liam O’Hara point, but their margin of victory in the replay was more convincing than Sunday’s opponents.

Faughanvale were put to the sword with ten points to spare and Foreglen secured a victory over Doire Trasna followed by a serene transition against Castledawson to reach the decider.

Claudy have embarked on a 14-year wait since their last title in 2005. They tasted victory over current SFC champions (for now) Eoghan Rua on that occasion and are well-equipped to take the title again.

Aaron Kerrigan’s insatiable taste for goals drove Claudy to their league title and he is not alone in attack. The instrumental Marty Donaghy and Oran Armstrong are no strangers to the score-sheet and the Brothers McGahon in midfield provide an anchor for their fluid forward unit.

Foreglen are tigerish in defence and a searing work-rate runs through every move. Castledawson tried in vain to get back into their Semi-Final clash but their attacks were repeatedly snuffed out by hard, accurate tackling from the Foreglen defence.

In Eoghan Duffy, Man of the Match on that occasion, Foreglen have a hugely effective link-man who, alongside Liam O’Hara, transitions defence to attack in mere seconds.

Their full forward line of O’Connor’s – Caolan, Kevin and Cahir – are a constant threat to defences and have the match-winning potential required to deliver a first title since 2013.

An expectant Derry football following will flock Foyleside on Sunday and will be hopeful of some early Halloween fireworks. The experienced Barry Cassidy will be in the middle and his able refereeing will no doubt be required.

Two fierce local rivals. Two talented footballing teams. Two contrasting styles.

One winner of the Sheridan, Bateson and Lee Cup.

It may not be Sunday evening they are crowned though.

Verdict: Draw