Glen's pace looks too hot for Cargin in Ulster Club semi-final

Ulster Senior Club Football Semi FinalGlen v Cargin (Sunday, Omagh 1-30pm)

Ethan Doherty's pace will be a big threat to Cargin in Healy Park on Sunday. Photo: George Sweeney.  DER2246GS – 021
Ethan Doherty's pace will be a big threat to Cargin in Healy Park on Sunday. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2246GS – 021

Sunday sees a relatively a rare meeting between the Derry and Antrim champions in Ulster, due mainly to the poor record of Antrim teams in the competition.

Glen and Cargin have had contrasting journeys to the penultimate stage. Glen took control in the second half against Errigal Ciaran in a brilliant game at Celtic Park to win by 3-10 to 1-12 while Cargin caused

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a mild surprise by defeating Donegal champions, Naomh Conaill (Glenties) on penalties after extra time.

There were times when the Toomebridge men looked down and out but they never gave up. They looked gone from the competition trailing by 1-9 to 0-9 when Kevin McShane punched home a goal seven minutes into added time. With the teams still locked after twenty minutes extra time it was down to who could hold their nerves and it was the Antrim champions as Michael McCann, Thomas McCann, Pat Shivers and Cahir Donnelly all converted their spot kicks with only Charlie McGuinness hitting the net for the Donegal champions.

Cargin keeper Johnny McNab was the other hero, saving three of the Naomh Conaill penalties.

Cargin have dominated Antrim football in recent years, winning 11 county titles and six of them coming since 2015. In all six cases they have been managed by Derry men with John Brennan, Damian Cassidy and current former Ballinderry player, Ronan Devlin, the successful men.

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Glen won their first Derry championship last year and virtually cruised to another this term this season. In short they are a class apart in Derry football.

One area where Glen can prosper in Healy Park is at midfield where their tall duo of All Star Conor Glass and Emmett Bradley look too strong for Cargin’s Carron and McCann. Cargin do have some very good individual forwards like Pat Shivers, Tomas McCann and Michael McCann but notably 1-04 of their total against Naomh Conaill came from defenders.

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Glen do not really have any stand out forwards apart from Ethan Doherty but it is their superb teamwork, high degree of fitness and their ability to give the ball to the player in the best scoring position that makes them so hard to beat.

Cargin play with great spirit and using all their great experience will most likely set up defensively and hit on the break. Glen with their searing pace and supreme fitness have become adept at breaking down defences.

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It has been brilliantly entertaining Ulster championship to date starting off with Ballybay’s shock win over Crossmaglen. Ballybay in turn were well beaten by holders Kilcoo. The Glen versus Errigal Ciaran game was a classic. Cargin defeated the Donegal champion on penalties as did Enniskillen Gaels against Gowna of Cavan.

Kilcoo play Enniskillen Gaels in the other semi final and barring major shocks it looks set to be an Ulster final meeting on December 4th between Glen and Kilcoo. When they met in the semi final last year Kilcoo won in extra time after a giveaway goal by the Glen defence.​​​​ It would take a brave man to back against a rerun of that game in the final.