Paul McGirr Tournament Quarter-Final
Lavey v Madden
Saturday (2.00) - Dromore
Derry U16 kingpins Lavey go head to head with Armagh champions Madden in the penultimate quarter final this weekend.
Lavey, back for a second successive season, were somewhat surprise winners in Derry last year they certainly weren’t this year.
They overcame the challenge of an immensely physical Magherafelt side and will be extremely confident of making a huge impact in this year’s tournament.
While a small side in stature, the spirit and determination one would associate their managers, All-Ireland medal winners, Johnny McGurk and Henry Downey.
Jamie Duggan, Joseph and James McGurk provide a strong spine to their defence. County minor star Enda Downey in midfield is a superb player.
In attack Conor and Matthew Downey in particular are ace marksmen. A large number of the 2017 squad including 12 of the starting side are still underage this year and this is something that McGurk feels will stand to his charges.
"Playing in last year's tournament was a real eye opener for our lads but we acquitted ourselves well losing narrowly to a strong Crossmaglen team.
"While we were disappointed at the time, we knew that the experience would really benefit the lads this year. This is how it turned out and having coming through an extremely tough Derry campaign our thoughts turned immediately to the Paul McGirr tournament," McGurk added.
"We have prepared well and are really looking forward to the challenge. We have heard great reports of this Madden team and are under no illusions we will have to play to our very best if we are to proceed to the semi finals."
It would appear to be the tie of the round against a Madden team who became the first team from the club, in its 85 year history, to annex an Armagh grade 1 county underage title.
Under the tutelage Micky Grimley, Tony Mulvenna and Barry Mallon they are determined to continue their success as they enter Ulster competition for the first time.
Their 1-12 to 0-9 county final victory over a highly fancied Clann Eireann sent shockwaves through Armagh football and marked this team out as one that will certainly prove a huge hurdle for Lavey to surmount.
The Raparees main marksman is full forward Eoin Grimley who amassed an amazing 0-10 against Clann Eireann, Grimley is joint captain of the team along with Gary McGuiness and both will have major roles to play along with the impressive Ryan Mone and speedster Oisin Tohill.
Team manager Micky Grimley brought his charges to Gardrum Park last weekend to familiarise themselves with the surroundings and he is confident of a large travelling support as they face the might of Lavey.
"This young Madden team are really looking forward to taking part in the prestigious Paul McGirr tournament and testing ourselves against the best in Ulster.
"We know it will be a massive challenge but the boys have worked hard and are ready to give their all once more. The support we have received this year from within the club this year has been second to none and I am sure our supporters will be doing their upmost to drive the lads over the line in what will be a great occasion for the club."
This is a game that is really hard to call but the experience of last year may just be enough to edge the contest in favour of Lavey as they seek to join Burren and Cavan champions Gowna in the semi final draw which will take place immediately after this tie.
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