By Shaun Casey
SATURDAY provides not only a top of the table clash in Group A of the Ulster Minor Championship, but also a repeat of the dramatic league final between Derry and Donegal.
Both sides are currently unbeaten in the championship having put together convincing back-to-back victories. In fact, Derry’s only defeat all season came at the hands of Donegal in that league final, while Donegal have yet to lose a single game. A late Eoghan Scott goal was the difference in the league decider, which Donegal edged 1-9 to 0-9.
Donegal displayed their goal-scoring talents as they waltzed to a comfortable 3-18 to 0-7 win over Down last weekend, with Shane Callaghan, Conor McCahill and Jack Hegarty all rattling the net.
Derry on the other hand have hit two goals, one in each outing, but it’s their defensive record that has been so impressive, only conceding 0-9 in two games.
Down could only muster up three-points in their 21-point hammering against the Oak Leaf County and they improved that against Donegal, hitting 0-7, but again conceded way too much.
They take on Fermanagh this weekend and given that both teams have yet to register a point, this game will more or less decide who qualifies for the quarter-finals and who drops out of the competition.
In Group B, all four teams are sure of their spot in the knockout stages of the competition, so the final round of games is all about securing their places in the league table.
Defending champions Tyrone, who are targeting a third title in a row, look set to top the table after an impressive start to the campaign. The Red Hands overcame both Cavan and Armagh to sit at the top of the table.
Darragh Donaghy’s second-half strike was the difference as Tyrone overcame Cavan 1-10 to 0-12 while they also needed two goals after the turnaround to see off Armagh, with Ruairi McCullagh and Aidan Hegarty nailing the three-pointers.
Gerard Donnelly’s side take on Antrim this weekend and will be heavy pre-match favourites. Antrim stole a draw against Armagh in the first round and suffered a heavy 0-7 to 3-18 hammering at the hands of Cavan last weekend.
Cavan will likely finish second in the group if they can avoid defeat in the final round when they travel to Armagh on Saturday. Ben O’Hara claimed two goals while Jamie Clarke also netted as the Breffni Blues eased past Antrim.