Ballinderry Shamrocks go into their All Ireland Senior Football semi-final against St Vincent’s in Páirc Esler, Newry, this evening knowing they have to be at their best if they are to end a 12 year wait for their second ever final appearance.
Manager Martin McKinless knows the Derry and Ulster champions will have to be a the top of their game if they want to progress against Dublin’s most successful side.
The Leinster champions were crowned All Ireland champions as recently as 2008 and claimed a hard fought Leinster crown in November getting the better of Portlaoise in the final.
Today’s game, which has a 5.00pm throw-in, will be screened live on TG4.
Having beaten Glenswilly and Kingdom Kerry Gael of London to reach the last four for the third time in their history, the Shamrocks will have to up their performance level if they want to reach the final.
McKinless will be looking to senior players such as Ryan Scott, Kevin McGuckin, Aaron Devlin, Gareth McKinless, Coilín Devlin and Ryan Bell who have all played for Derry in recent years as well as the vastly experienced Enda Muldoon and Conleth Gilligan who banked plenty inter-county days over the last decade.
Youngster Ryan Bell caught the eye during their county and provincial winning campaigns in 2013 and looks to have a bright future ahead of him.
Ballinderry lost out in their first All-Ireland semi-final tie against Mayo’s Garrymore in 1982 but two decades later they made amends against Wicklow’s Rathnew and went on to win the All-Ireland title with a final win against Nemo Rangers by 2-10 to 0-9 in Thurles.
St Vincent’s have Dublin stars Ger Brennan and Diarmuid Connolly who were to the fore as Dubs swept to the All-Ireland title last September while Tomás Quinn, Michael Savage, Hugh Gill and Eamon Fennell have all featured in recent Dublin squads as well.
To reach the last four, St Vincent’s showed their resilience in beating Ballymun Kickhams after a replay to win the Dublin title before getting the better of St Loman’s and Summerhill in Leinster before winning a six-goal thriller in the decider against Portlaoise.
The Dubliners have a rich history in this competition, winning the title in 1976 against Roscommon Gaels and in 2008 against Nemo Rangers.
Back in 1973 they lost the decider after a replay against Nemo Rangers and in 1985 were defeated in the final by Castleisland Desmonds.
Throw-in for today’s game is 5.00pm. Referee will be Martin Duffy from Sligo.
The clash will be screened live on TG4 as will the other semi-final between Castlebar Mitchels (Mayo) and Dr Crokes (Kerry) who meet in O’More Park, Portlaoise at 3.00pm.