Glen must beware Errigal’s attacking threat in intriguing Ulster tie

Ulster Senior Club Football Quarter FinalGlen v Errigal Ciaran (Tyrone)Celtic Park, Sunday, 3.30pm

Watty Graham’s, Glen, celebrate their Derry SFC Cup final win over Slaughneil. Photo: George Sweeney.  DER2243GS – 001
Watty Graham’s, Glen, celebrate their Derry SFC Cup final win over Slaughneil. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2243GS – 001

Derry senior football champions, Glen, will be favourites to claim an Ulster semi final spot against Cargin or Glenties when they meet Tyrone champions, Errigal Ciaran on Sunday at Celtic Park.

It is not a new tag for the Maghera men but they will not be taking anything for granted, especially given their highly rated manager Malachy O’Rourke is a former Errigal Ciaran player!

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Errigal had to battle through a series of tough games to get their hands on the Tyrone title for an eighth time. They held off a late Carricknmore fightback to win by 2-11 to 1-12 in a thrilling decider at Omagh. That was not the case for Glen in what was a very flat Derry championship. Apart from a decent challenge from Magherafelt, the rest of the games were routine victories. For the second successive final they cruised past Slaughtneil with the minimum of fuss.

That begs the question, were Glen really good or were Slaughtneil off form? A bit of both perhaps and some have suggested that lack of competitive action may catch Glen on the provincial stage.

One thing’s for sure though, Glen will have to be on their guard against the attacking threat of Errigal’s Canavan brothers, Darragh and Rauri. They may be small in stature but they are brilliant players. Add in Joe Oguz, the experienced Tommy Canavan and there is enough quality in the visitors attack to keep the Glen backs occupied all afternoon.

All Ireland winners, Ben McDonnell and Peter Harte, at midfield are a formidable pair but so are the Glen duo of All Star, Conor Glass and the experienced Emmett Bradley. The Harte/Canavan connection is further strengthened on the sideline where Mark Harte, son of Mickey, is manager.

While they look equal in the attacking and midfield departments, it could boil down to the respective defences and here Glen look pretty solid. They may not be the tallest but for sheer pace and all round skill, they are superb. Most of the Glen backline have been attackers so they know how to drive forward at the first opportunity and set up or get scores. The two central men, Ryan Dougan and Michael ‘Spike’ Warnock have been very solid all season with the pace of the wing men allowing them to hold their ground in the event of a counter attack.

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Even though Glen do not have any stand out forwards they’ve been running up decent totals. A lot of their scores are coming from defenders and midfielders. In the defeat of Slaughtneil their top scorer was corner back, Cathal Mulholland, with 1-1. Of their 1-12 just six points came from forwards.

What Glen are particularly good at is their ability to snuff out opposing dangerous forwards without conceding needless frees. They conceded just two points from frees against Slaughtneil and when Jack Doherty plays well so do Glen. He is hard to stop on the run, as his younger brother, Ethan.

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It’s going to be a titanic battle but Glen look to have the better balanced team and should win what is likely to be a highly tactical affair!