PETER MORAN believes that his Ulster Senior League squad can compete for and win the Michael Ward Trophy at this weekend’s FAI Intermediate Interprovincial Tournament in Cork.
Moran, the Bonagee United manager, has taken over as manager of the team from Donal O’Brien, who won this tournament in 2013 and 2014.
Picture caption: Peter Moran with Davitt Walsh and Peter Doherty at a press briefing yesterday at Café Davitt in Letterkenny.
Moran was part of the backroom team last year, when the USL lost their three games, but he says his men will be ready for the battle in Cork this weekend.
“I believe that we’re going down to Cork with a very strong squad. We’re going down to be competitive and to bring back the trophy,” he said at a press briefing on Tuesday at Café Davitt in Letterkenny.[adrotate group=”38″]
“I was disappointed last year that we didn’t win it. I’ve told all the players that we want to win it. There is no sense in going down there just to make up the numbers.
“We are missing some experience from the squad, but that’s natural when you’re going away for three full days – men at this level have other commitments.
“But I have no regrets with the squad we have. A few young guys will get a chance and won’t let us down. We’ll go down there and do the Ulster Senior League proud.”
The USL concluded preparations on Tuesday night with a 5-2 win at Dergview, Stephen Duffy netting three with Conor Tourish and Davitt Walsh also on the mark.
Youngsters like Duffy could be key this weekend given that Moran will be without the likes of Malachy McDermott, Garbhan Friel, Jimmy Bradley, David Shovlin and Matthew Crossan.
Moran knows the League well from his years at Bonagee and says he is honoured to be taking charge of the representative side.
He said: “To be asked to do this job is a massive honour. It’s the highest job I can do in this League. Donal invited me in last year to see what it was.
“It was good to be there and to see that. It’s the best players that each province can put out.[adrotate group=”80″]
“There are some quality footballers up here. There is talent in Donegal, in the Ulster Senior League. It takes a lot of commitment and effort to play at this level.”
The USL team begin the weekend on Friday night against Leinster Senior League at St Mary’s Park before taking on Connacht at Corinthians Park on Saturday ahead of a clash with hosts Munster at Turner’s Cross on Sunday.
Moran said: “We can’t lose on Friday. We have to come out of it with something. We’ll be down on Friday and will prepare as best we can. We’ll get down early and give it the best go we can.[adrotate group=”83″]
“Donal brought a real professionalism to it. The League has backed us and that’s right. These players are going away to represent their clubs and their families as well as their League.
“The players are giving of their time so it’s only right that they be backed when they’re doing that.”
ULSTER SENIOR LEAGUE SQUAD: Harry Doherty (Cockhill Celtic), Rory Kelly (Letterkenny Rovers), Gareth Breslin (Bonagee United), Conor Tourish (Letterkenny Rovers), Peter Doherty (Cockhill Celtic), Sam Todd (Derry City Reserves), Chris Flanagan (Letterkenny Rovers), Derek Doherty (Cockhill Celtic), Ryan Varma (Cockhill Celtic), Conor Keddy (Cockhill Celtic), Ronan Olly Doherty (Cockhill Celtic), Davitt Walsh (Fanad United), Stephen Duffy (Derry City Reserves), Jason Breslin (Cockhill Celtic), Aidan McCauley (Bonagee United), Mark Moran (Cockhill Celtic), Jack Blake (Derry City Reserves), Adrian Delap (Derry City Reserves), Laurence Toland (Swilly Rovers) Paul McVeigh (Letterkenny Rovers).
Friday, October 14, 7.30pm
Leinster Senior League v Ulster Senior League St Mary’s Park
Connacht v Munster Senior League Knockgriffin, Midleton
Saturday, October 15
Ulster Senior League v Connacht Corinthians Park
Munster Senior League v Leinster Senior LeagueO’Shea Park, Blarney
Sunday, October 16, 10.45am
Leinster Senior League v Connacht Ringmahon Park
Munster Senior League v Ulster Senior League Turner’s Cross