v Slaughtneil Emmets
Celtic Park, Derry
3.30pm, Sunday 21 October
CELTIC PARK is the place to be on Sunday as Ballinderry and Slaughtneil do battle for the Derry senior football crown.
For the Shamrocks they will be going in search of back to back titles for the first time since 2001 and 2002 and their sixth sixth title since 2001.
Slaughtneil in comparison will be looking for a measure of revenge having lost narrowly to the loughshore side in the 2008 decider.
Both teams will have vast experience within their ranks to call on when the ball is thrown in with Mickey Conlon, Enda Muldoon, Kevin McGuckin and Conleth Gilligan as important as ever for their side.
Slaughtneil too have a number of wider heads to lead them on Sunday not least Patsy Bradley in midfield and Jim Kelly both of whom are never found wanting on the big occasion.
The presence of Chris McKaigue and Se McGuigan in defence and attack respectively will add an air of youthfulness to the Emmet’s side and they could well play key roles.
One of the more interesting battles on Sunday afternoon will not be fought on the field but on the sideline as two of the more experienced managers in Derry football go head to head.
Damien Barton is in his third year as Slaughtneil manager but was once in charge of Ballinderry taking them to county finals in the late 1990s.
Barton has vast experience managing clubs in Tyrone and Down as well as Ballinderry’s neighbours, Loup.
Ballinderry too will not be found wanting for experience on the sideline with Martin McKinless again in charge. McKinless is assisted by Fabian Muldoon, Joe Canavan and Dessie Ryan.
One of the more revealing pieces of information to emerge in the build up to this encounter is the championship record of McKinless, having won three county titles with the Shamrocks and an Intermediate title with Derrylaughan in Tyrone, the Ballinderry supremo has never lost a Derry championship match during his time in charge.
The Shamrocks began their campaign with a comfortable victory over Greenlough, before accounting for Kilrea after a thriller, Dungiven narrowly and then squeezing past a game Banagher side in the semi-final.
Slaughtneil too are unbeaten having taken care of Coleraine, Glenullin, Lavey and Kilrea after a replay on Wednesday night last.
By five o’clock on Sunday evening one of the two teams will be crowned Derry champions for 2012.