I am so glad our boys hung in: McBride

By Michael McMullan

FOUR Masters head into this weekend’s Ulster Minor semi-final against Castleblayney (Sunday, St Paul’sm 1pm) with a sense of relief.

With seconds left in Saturday’s quarter-final against Magherafelt they needed a disputed penalty, bagged by Kevin Muldoon, to give them a lifeline before Tiarnan McBride flicked in the winning goal late on.

“I am so glad our boys hung in and I am delighted we are still in the competition, it is a special competition,” said selector Odie McBride, still coming to terms with the frantic finale.

“It is special to be here representing Donegal and still here to prepare for next week.”

Four Masters found themselves 0-8 to 0-0 down against a formidable Magherafelt side last weekend before going in seven points in arrears at the break.

“The wind and weather was a big factor,” McBride said of how his side clawed their way back in the third quarter.

“Theo (Colhoun) and Tomás (Carr) broke and won a lot of ball around the middle which gave us the footing to go forward.”

Despite the tricky conditions, both goalkeepers lofted their kick-outs high and long into the Belfast sky.

It has been the Four Masters’ philosophy of keeping the ball as far away from the danger zone as possible. A mistake coming out of defence can be costly.

“A lot of boys don’t agree with that but our ethos with this team is to get it forward as fast as we can and make it happen on the other side of the pitch,” McBride said.

“They (Magherafelt) made us look like we are an average team but they are a good team with all form behind them and the tradition of Derry teams doing so well.

“We learned a lot from last year (losing the final to Dungiven) about hanging on to the end and staying in the games.”

McBride puts their recent success down to a decade of work in the club’s underage academy under current Chairman Pauric Harvey, manager of last year’s minor team.

“They kept it going through the grades and we are in a really good position at the minute in underage,” McBride added.

“We want to hang in there and produce good senior teams. The structures are in place at the minute and we want to keep being competitive.”

That’s for another day. Now it’s about hatching a plan for Castleblayney who have Max McGinnity and Canice Murphy on board from the county minor team.

Lorcan Mone hit four points from play in victory over Clan na Gael in last Saturday’s competition opener.

With many of the Four Masters’ team involved in the Abbey school team who have won two from two in the MacLarnon Cup so far, it’s about balancing the players’ workload and preparing for what McBride expects to be a tough semi-final this weekend.

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