Ulster Senior League ready to defend crown

USL With TrophyThis weekend (October 3rd – 5th) the Ulster Senior League will attempt to defend the Intermediate Inter Provincial Michael Ward Trophy that they won in superb style in Sligo last year when they host this year’s tournament.
The games get underway on Friday night with the USL squad meeting the Connacht side in the splendid Maginn Park in Buncrana whilst the Leinster Senior League and Munster Senior League will square off in Finn Park. Both games kick off at 8pm.
On Saturday the USL squad will once again play in Inishowen, they will take on perennial favourites and record winners of the competition, Leinster at The Charlie O’Donnell Sports Grounds in Cockhill while the Munster and Connacht squads will face off in St. Patrick’s Park in Drumkeen. Saturday’s games will kick-off at 1pm.
There is an early start for all the teams on Sunday morning with the final round of games taking place at 10:30am, both games are in Letterkenny. The USL will meet Munster in Dry Arch Park in Bonagee with Leinster taking on Connacht in Leckview Park.
Joint Manager Donal O’Brien was positive about his team’s chances this weekend. “The boys have put in a good months training in preparation for this year’s tournament and we are aiming to retain the trophy. The lads are all eager to give it a real go again this year and since myself and Trevor have come in the players have really supported what we are trying to do. Maybe in the past there was a bit of an inferiority complex playing Leinster and Munster, but that’s gone now. After last year the boy’s know they are good enough so it’s about producing now over the weekend” enthused O’Brien.
Trevor Scanlon was equally upbeat about the USL’s chances, “Training has gone well. The lads are ready. Myself and Donal are really happy with the make-up of the squad. We’ve had to make one or two tweaks with some players from last year not being available for one reason or another but we feel we have assembled a really versatile squad again this year – maybe more versatile than last year in that we have drafted in the likes of Laurence Toland who had a great year with Swilly rovers and he can play in several positions. We also have Gareth Wade back in the squad, paired with Gavin Cullen we are really strong in the goalkeeping department too” he said.
“Johnny Bonner and Anthony Appiah are great additions too so overall we’re happy. Obviously we need a good start on Friday night in Maginn Park and hopefully we will get good local support over the weekend,” said Scanlon.
O’Brien believes the USL have a great chance again this weekend “I’ve always maintained that our players are a match for any of the other leagues if they commit to this tournament and in fairness they have done everything we have asked. We have lads getting off work to come training to Letterkenny. It won’t be easy – Munster are backboned by Avondale who have won 4 Intermediate Cups in a row and there are so many good teams around Dublin – so we’ll have to be on top of our game and really focussed. It’s a tough weekend playing 3 games in 3 days and you need a little bit of luck with injuries and things over the course of the tournament but last year will have given the boys belief so we hope to get a winning start on Friday night and have it all to play for against Leinster on Saturday in Cockhill and see where we are after that heading into Bonagee on Sunday. One thing is for sure, the boys will give it everything they have over the weekend.”

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