DECLAN McKillop says that he is grateful that his Eire Og Carrickmore team are going to be stronger for Sunday’s semi-final clash with Armagh champions Middletown at Corrigan Park. (Throw-in 12,45pm)
The Tyrone side have played much of the season understrength, but Cushendall man McKillop is welcoming back a swathe of players to the squad.
“We were missing two or three boys due to a long league campaign. They have been at training for the last few weeks. So we will have a full team.
“We have had a few players who were never in county final. We have players like Johnny Munroe back. We have six new players and that will really strengthen the team.”
Middletown will be favourites for the game, as they played at senior level last year.
Carrickmore are very familiar with Martin Curry’s team.
“Because we played them already in the Ulster League, we will be familiar with each other. We know what they are like.
“They are a really well turned out team, with a lot of good hurlers.”
Carrickmore have not had a competitive game since the county final, and have had to get challenge matches to prepare for this encounter.
They beat Eoghan Ruadh 3-11 to 0-12 almost a month ago.
“The conditions were very very poor that day. That type of hurling which we play suited a bad day.
The match was what we expected it to be. It was tough and aggressive.
“It doesn’t matter if it is Tyrone or Antrim. When you are playing your neighbours it makes for a 50-50 game. It levels it out.
“To say we learned anything would be incorrect.
“It is hard to read anything into a match like that.”
FULL STORY IN THURSDAY’S ULSTER HERALD…