Shea has U-21 glory in sights

BREWSTER Park in Enniskillen will be the venue for this year’s opening fixture in the Cadburys U21 Ulster football championship, when hosts Fermanagh take on a fancied Tyrone side, writes Jason Quinn.

Last year’s beaten finalists Tyrone will be hoping to build on that disappointing defeat and add the 2012 Ulster title to the already captured Cremartin cup. The O’Neill County went through that competition undefeated, beating Host County Monaghan in the final and Shea McGuigan, the youngest sibling of the famous father and son clan from the Ardboe club, believes that competition was very beneficial to his side.

“It definitely helped to boost our confidence; it’s a good competition to get the team playing competitively together and great for team bonding as well.”

Tyrone will go into this tie as hot favourites, a tag McGuigan isn’t totally convinced by.

“People have been saying we should be beaten Fermanagh easily enough, but we are not looking at it like that, it’s championship football, you don’t know what to expect. They aren’t going to be easy opposition but we will give it our all and see how it goes.”

The King’s ‘ youngest prodigy , remarkably in his third and final year with the U21 set up, would love to win the Ulster title and points to the bitter disappointment of last year’s defeat, for himself and others to really push on but says it’s one step at a time for the Red Hand County.

“For myself, Sean Warnock, Brian McGarvey boys like that, it was heart-breaking for us being defeated in the final last year, we would definitely be hoping to get back to the final this year again and that starts with Fermanagh on Wednesday but we are looking no further ahead than that.”

You can be sure this group of Tyrone players will be tuned in from the start, as they know first-hand the disappointment of losing out in the first round, coming up short against Armagh, in the Minor Championship back in 2009 and McGuigan acknowledges that the craft and experience brought into their set-up, by Current Senior Full-Back Connor Clarke and his Omagh Club mate Ronan O’Neill should help his sides chances.

“The two senior players are a great help to us, they are playing at the highest level and the experience they bring from that to our training is very beneficial to our squad.”

The only previous meetings between these two sides came back in the 2009 Minor league campaign, when Tyrone travelled to Enniskillen and came away with a narrow victory. A similar result would be expected here, to make it two out of two for the Red Hand’s and let them continue their journey to a possible Ulster Title.