Castlederg get their Junior Championship campaign underway

By Niall Gartland

SIXTEEN teams are primed ahead of a stacked weekend of Tyrone Junior Championship first-round fixtures while Division One and Two of the All County Leagues are set to conclude this Sunday afternoon with plenty at stake, particularly for relegation-threatened teams.

Last Saturday, Glenelly became the first team to progress in this season’s Tyrone Club Championships with a spirited comeback over Augher. There’s no time to sit on that victory as they’re out in action again this Saturday in their first round proper against Clann na nGael.

Some of the teams in action will harbour aspirations of championship glory, while others, like Castlederg will simply be hoping to have a respectable campaign.

The ‘Derg take on Errigal Ciaran Thirds on Sunday and their manager, local lad Chris McLaughlin, has been encouraged by the attitude and aptitude of his young players despite some bruising defeats at the start of their league campaign.

“We’ve five points so we’re down at the lower end of the league. It’s not what we want but when I went in for the job at the end of last year, I spoke to the committee and they were realistic about where we stood.

“I was assistant manager when we got promoted in 2016 and I think only three of that panel are still playing. We’ve a lot of young lads, and the first few matches in the league were very tough for us, but they’ve been a credit, the numbers at training have never dipped and slowly but surely we’ve become competitive. They’ve never dropped the head and it was nice to get a few recent wins, a slow improvement but we can’t fault the lads at all.

“After those first three matches, bar the Fintona game, all our other games have been very competitive including against the teams who were vying for promotion.”

The Castlederg manager also gave his take on who he considers the contenders for this year’s Pat Darcy Cup.

“The obvious answer is the teams that finished top of the league. Fintona are the last team that gave us a really heavy beating, I was really impressed with them. Cookstown are the obvious one but there are a lot of other teams that look very strong in the top half of the league.

“In Division Three nobody is going to get too many handy games. We play Errigal Ciaran Thirds in the championship, they beat us in a tight game in the league. They were very well prepared and that applies to everyone in the Division, there’s no soft touches.”

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW