Derry fans will get the perfect opportunity to see the early stages of the new look Derry football team as all three group games in the 2016 Dr McKenna Cup will take place in Owenbeg. With a new sponsor and a new manager it is the start of a new era in the county.
With the ‘season ticket’ option available for all games up to and including the final, it could be the perfect Christmas present for Derry fans with all games on their doorstep. Like all county managers, Damian Barton will welcome the chance to get a look at all his players ahead of the league campaign.
One of Barton’s big targets for the league will be to establish a new midfield pairing after the retirement of Bellaghy’s Fergal Doherty. The upcoming replacement in the long term would have been Conor Glass but he will be jetting off to link up with Hawthorn and will be a huge loss to Derry and his club Glen.
After St Patrick’s Maghera’s recent dominance, Glen’s underage conveyor belt, Derry minors are current Ulster champions with also Ballinderry and Slaughtneil winning the Ulster Club in recent times the future is bright in the county. With state of the art facilities now in place at Owenbeg, it is time for Derry to step up and realise their potential.
Former Derry defender Tony Scullion is calling on the new breed of Derry players to come to the fore. Speaking at the Derry Awards Dinner last week the four time all-star appealed strongly to the younger regeneration of Derry players. “We need you. We need you to step up and over the next twenty years is when you should be enjoying playing.”
The Ballinascreen man was the worthy recipient of the An Curadh Mhir and he made a passionate appeal to the clubs of Derry. “We are all very proud club people but I appeal that everyone puts their shoulder to the wheel for the county. There are a lot of club chairmen in the room here, if there are any men in your club that are capable of playing for the county, don’t stop them, get them up the road to Owenbeg,” appealed a very passionate Scullion.
With the first NFL against Fermanagh also fixed for Owenbeg, the McKenna Cup is the perfect dress rehearsal to start the league on a positive note.
* Sunday 3rd January – Derry v Antrim
* Sunday 10th January – Derry v Tyrone
* Wednesday 13th January – Derry v Queens
* Sunday 17th January – Semi Finals
* Saturday 23rd January – Final
* Sunday 31st January – NFL v Fermanagh