20 Feb 2016

Ulster U21 Final - Glen v St John's

Bank Of Ireland Ulster U21 Final – Glen v St John's (Sunday 2.15pm in Creggan) 
CAN THE JOHNNIES STOP GLEN'S BACK TO BACK HOPES? 
It's difficult to see who or indeed if anyone can stop Glen powering their way to a second successive Ulster U21 title.  This Sunday the next challenger to step into the ring are Antrim kingpins St John's. 

Last year Emmett Bradley scored 0-6 as Glen edged out St John's at the semi-final stage (2-14 to 3-6).  This Sunday Bradley will be watching from the stand along with Brendan O'Kane and last year's captain Michael Warnock who are overage. 

Goalkeeper from twelve months ago Ciaran McCloy is still eligible but has last lost the number one jersey to last year's Derry minor goalie Callum Mullan-Young.   

Brendan O'Kane's place in defence has been taken by Conor Gallagher, but Gallagher came off at half time last Sunday and was replaced in the Clonduff game with concussion. 

Ryan Dougan played midfield last year but hasn't featured much this year with hamstring trouble 
and it's unlikely he will come into the reckoning this Sunday. 

It's a new look midfield this year in the shape of Conor Glass and Ciaran McFaul, in the reshuffle Connor Carville has returned to the defence after injury.   

Up front Jack Doherty, Cahir McCabe, Conall Darragh and Tiarnan Flanigan are the new kids on the block but McCabe came on as a sub against St John's last year. 

St John's for their part have been the dominant force in Antrim but this year have lost Donall Nugent who transferred to neighbouring club Lamh Dhearg.  They are also without the influential Johnston brothers – Ciaran and Conor. 

Both of whom have appeared to have thrown their lot in with Antrim hurlers and are expected to be on duty when Antrim host Kildare this Sunday.   

There was an apparent bust up in the dressing room before their opening Ulster game against Cavan's Ramor United and the Johnston brothers haven't featured for St John's since. 

When PJ O'Mullan names his team during the week the Glen contingent will be checking for the presence of C Johnston in the lineup. 

In their semi final win over a Cullyhanna it took a late scoring burst from St John's to get over the line. 

Cullyhanna were 1-9 to 1-6 ahead and appeared safe.  A late goal from Matthew Fitzpatrick, his second of the game brought the sides level.  Midfielder Ryan McNulty edged them ahead with an injury time point before substitute Jude McCurdy killed the South Armagh resolve with a third goal. 

Enda Gormley's scouting process has flagged up any threats and he will assign their specialised man maker Oisin Hegarty to curb the influence of Fitzpatrick, who has scored 3-3 in the two games so far. 

St John's boss Locky McCurdy will have CJ McKenna back who missed the Cullyhanna game due to a pre arranged holiday. 

In the Clonduff and Magheracloone games Glen have been slow out of the blocks.  They are on the road a long time and 'getting up' for every game is a difficult challenge, especially when they are so accustomed to winning. 

Cathal Mulholland hinted last week that the management team are always challenging them to improve and that performance is the main yardstick.   Gormley wasn't worried about his side's missed chances – so long as they are creating. 

Perhaps Sunday is the day they get off to a whirlwind start and blow the Johnnies away in the early stages.  Fresh in the mind will be the dressing room scene from last year's semi final when St John's were 3-5 to 1-5 ahead.  Gormley will be looking for a better showing this time. 

With four Ulster minor titles the Watty's are highly experienced in tournament football and retaining 
the Paddy McLarnon Cup is the next step in their development.   
The men from the Whiterock will provide a sterner test than Maghracloone but it's hard to see anything other than a Glen win.   

Likely Lineups  Glen: Mullan-Young; C Gallagher, C McDevitt, O Hegarty; R McDonnell, C Carville, C Mulholland; C Glass, C McFaul; J Doherty, D Tallon, C McCabe; C Convery, P Gunning, T Flanigan. 

St John's: M McKenna; C Carland, J Hannigan, L Laverty; P Nugent, M Bradley, C Hanna; R McCafferty, R McNulty; P McKenna, C McEvoy, R Hannigan; O McKenna, M Fitzpatrick, F Morgan. 

GLEN v ST JOHN'S PREVIOUS MEETINGS  
Ulster U21 Semi Final (2015) - Glen 2-14 St John' 3-6 
Trailing 3-5 to 1-5 at half time Glen put in a superb second half performance restricting St John's to just a single point in the second half. 

Four points in the first five minutes of the second half, two from Emmett Bradley and two from McFaul saw Glen on their way to a five point victory. 

GlenCiaran McCloy, Oisin Hegarty, Ryan McDonnell, Conor McDevitt, Cathal Mulholland (0-1), Conor Glass, Brendan O`Kane, Ryan Dougan, Emmett Bradley (0-6), Danny Tallon (1-1), Ciaran McFaul (0-5), Michael Warnock, Paul Gunning, Stephen O'Hara (0-1)Conor Convery (1-0).  Sub used: Cahir McCabe for Paul Gunning.
  
Ulster MFC Preliminary Round (2012) - Glen 3-12 St John's 0-10 
The St John's forward line had been much talked about going into this game but Glen's defence blotted them out and Ciaran McCloy saved a Padraig Nugent penalty. 

At the other end Ryan Dougan setup Conor Convery for a goal helping them into a 1-9 to 0-3 interval lead. 

In the second half 'Dougie' was again involved in setting up Paul Gunning's goal and added two points of this own.  Danny Tallon scored Glen's third goal to seal the deal. 

GlenCiaran McCloy; Conor McDevitt; Ryan McDonald; Oisin Hegarty; Conor Gallagher; Connor Carville; Cathal Mulholland; Ryan Dougan; Conor Glass: Tomas Convery; Ciaran McFaul; Stevie O’Hara; Paul Gunning; Conor Convery; Danny Tallon 
Subs: Cahir Glass; Kevin McErlean; Declan McCusker; Shay Gormley; Gavin O’Connor; Mark DooleTiarnan Flanagan;  Jack Doherty. 

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