Action from Swatragh's win over Ballinascreen in last year's intermediate hurling final at Celtic Park. (Pic: NW Press Pics)
Swatragh open their hurling championship when they meet Na Magha on Friday night.
LEADON TIMBERFRAME SHC
Swatragh v Na Magha
Friday (7.30) – Davitt Park
Referee: Tarlach Conway (Ballinascreen)
Last year's intermediate champions Swatragh finished the league in a creditable third spot go into the championship with a running habit behind them.
Declan McGuckin answered the call to take over from Eamonn Hassan as manager at the start of 2020, with Seamus Bradley also coming on board.
They have had to play without Eoghan O'Kane this season, who has been a huge loss due to work commitments.
While Conor O'Kane was on county duty, Conor Quinn deputised in goals, but elsewhere the 'Swa have built a consistent defence with Patrick Turner making a return to action against Banagher last week.
In attack, Fintan McGurk's 3-19 tally – mostly from play – gives them an outlet alongside Sean Martin Quinn who has been in impressive scoring form, including his prowess from placed balls.
Tommy McCloy has been leading the line from full-forward, with Sean Francis and Declan Quinn chipping in with scores. Thomas McKeagney and Michael McCormack were part of the Derry U20 team this season and will add to their options.
The Davitt's entertain a Na Magha team this weekend who have yet to field their full side this season. Deaghlan Foley and Pádhraig Nelis have been on duty with Derry senior and U20s.
Foley and Alan Grant are both on the injured list and will miss out. Nelis will be a welcome addition and will take the scoring burden off Tim Rankin.
The experienced Breandán Quigley anchors the defence, but the city side must make the most of their younger crop of players coming on the scene. Keelan Doherty, Ruaidhrí McLaughlin and Aidan Cutliffe have been in around Derry squads, so it's their time to help move the club a step or two up the ladder.
Swatragh have the greater consistency and it's hard to see them slipping up at home.
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