Forkhill vs Derrynoose Preview

Before a ball was kicked in the Junior Championship this season, both these teams had a final spot in their sights, with the intention of winning the competition.

Now they are just sixty minutes away from getting to the showpiece, but it won’t come easy on Saturday evening.

Two of the favourites to get their hands on the Sean Quinn Cup, Forkhill and Derrynoose are arguably the two best teams at this level.

Forkhill have the obvious advantage of possessing a wealth of county talent and experience, with Stephen Sheridan, Jemar Hall and Paddy Burns all in their ranks.

Burns hasn’t featured so far this season, and the tight marking corner back recently got married, so his involvement this weekend is unknown.

Injury has denied the Armagh star an opportunity to line out for his club, but if he is available, he is likely to pick up Derrynoose sharp-shooter Conor McNally.

Conor McNally will be key for Derrynoose in today’s Junior Championship Semi Final!

McNally has displayed his class for years now with Derrynoose and he will once again look to lead his side to the Junior Championship Final.

Derrynoose appeared in the showpiece twelve months ago, after seeing off Forkhill in the semi-final, but fell short against Collegeland.

There’s no doubt that they have carried that hurt with them this year and that seems to have driven them to this stage once again.

They are the only team playing in the bottom division that remain unbeaten through league and championship so far in 2020.

Crossmaglen IIs were no challenge for Brian Hamilton’s men the last day out and goals from Davey McCreesh, McNally and Sean Lennon saw Derrynoose through.

Check out our thoughts on both the semi finals taking place this weekend with our dedicated Junior Championship Podcast!

Forkhill had a tougher entrance into the last four of the competition with Eire Og dragging them into extra time in their quarter final clash.

A debatable black card picked up in extra time denied Eire Og a chance to compete, with Forkhill rattling off five points in a row to win 0-17 to 0-14.

Jemar Hall was responsible for eight of those scores and is the dangerman in the Forkhill line-out. Paddy Quinn will go toe-to-toe with him as Paddy Kelly cuts off the space in front.

Stephen Sheridan may wear number 11, but he holds the centre of the park and controls the game from that position.

His connection with Hall is a worry for Derrynoose and if both these players are on top form, Forkhill will be a different prospect.

If they aren’t, then Cormac Toner will be expected to step up to the mantle, with Barry Shannon a brilliant option from the bench.

Cormac Toner could have a big say for his side!

Derrynoose have lost three starting players from last years semi final against the same opposition but still head into this game as slight favourites.

Burns’ availability will be key to the result, as he seems the only defender with the ability to limit McNally’s influence.

If McNally can continue his form, he picked up the Junior Footballer of the Year in 2019, then Forkhill will be in trouble.

This game could go right down to the wire and extra time may once again be needed to decide a winner.

Derrynoose seem to be in great form and carrying that hurt from last season, look most likely to get through to the decider, but they have a real battle on their hands.

Prediction: Derrynoose

A massive thank you to Maximum Sports Recovery for sponsoring today’s preview!!