By Niall Gartland
TYRONE U16 manager Lorcan Martin believes it would be a fitting reflection of the county’s strength at underage level if they become the first ever team to retain the Buncrana Cup in Saturday’s final against Armagh.
The Buncrana Cup is a respected and established competition that was set up in memory of three victims of the Omagh Bomb who came from Buncrana, namely Oran Doherty (8), Seán McLaughlin (11) and James Barker (13). It was initially conceived as an all-Ulster tournament but in recent years a number of heavy-hitters from other provinces have come on board, including Kerry, Mayo, Galway and Dublin, whom Tyrone defeated in a semi-final clash three weeks ago in Parnell Park.
Now the Red Hands will travel to Buncrana this weekend in their bid to claim back-to-back titles, and manager Lorcan Martin explains that he’s getting plenty of help behind the scenes from Tyrone luminaries.
Martin said: “No county has ever won it two years running, and it’d be really nice to achieve that especially as it’s a completely different team.
“That’s why we have such a strong coaching team, they want to see Tyrone win, they’re not doing it for their own CV. They’re doing it because they’re good Tyrone gaels.
“We have Enda McGinley from Errigal, John Lynch from Castledergy, Gary Currie from Edendork. There’s Conleth Donnelly from Cookstown who won an All-Ireland U17 title with Collie Holmes in 2017. None of them are doing it for the wrong reasons, they’re doing it because they want to help out their county.
“The competition is played at a big standard, it’s run by Croke Park and is attracting a lot of the big counties. It’s important to us as our lads’ next outing in a Tyrone jersey could be at county minor level.”
The Buncrana Cup finalists were also visited by Tyrone skipper Padraig Hampsey last weekend for a few tips on how to handle the big day.
Martin said: “We had Paudie in last Saturday afternoon. I’d coached Paudie at county minor and U21 level so I know him fairly well. He gave them all an idea of how to prep the week of an All-Ireland final. We’ve had various Tyrone senior players chat to the players and it’s important for them to see what the step up is like. In four or five years they could be lining out alongside these players so it’s important for our lads to see what the step up is like.”