Derry vs Clare: Team news and five key battles which could decide Saturday's quarter-final


As the 2022 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship reaches the quarter-final stages, fans of all counties are still involved begin to think this could be their year.

The draw for the last eight opened up the possibility of a novel pairing in the All-Ireland final. One team from Derry, Clare, Galway and Armagh will be in last month’s decider in Croke Park.

Three of those teams played in Division Two this year and Derry and Clare go head-to-head in the first of this year’s quarter-final clashes on Saturday afternoon.

Read more:The cost of going to Croke Park – how much will GAA fans be out of pocket this weekend?

Rory Gallagher is hoping to have a full squad to pick from with Niall Loughlin expected to recover from a recurring back injury.

Gallagher has named the same starting 15 for each of their three Championship games to date.

Emmett Bradley is usually named in the match-day program and replaced by Niall Toner while Shea Downey will drop in as an extra defender to allow Gareth McKinless to operate as a third midfielder.

Clare manager Colm Collins opted to hold veteran attacker David Turbridy in reserve against Roscommon as the Banner recovered from being five points down inside the last five minutes of the game to seal a 2-15 to 1-17 win at Croke Park.

We look at the key battles ahead of Saturday’s first All-Ireland SFC quarter-final. . .

Possible teams:

Derry:

1. Oran Lynch

2. Chrissy McKaigue 3. Brendan Rogers 4. Conor McCluskey

5. Conor Doherty 6. Gareth McKinless 7. Padraig McGrogan

8. Conor Glass 9. Niall Toner

10. Paul Cassidy 11. Shea Downey 12. Ethan Doherty

13. Benny Heron 14. Shane McGuigan 15. Niall Loughlin

Clare:

1. Tristan O’Callaghan

2. Cian O’Dea 3. Manus Doherty 4. Cillian Rouine

5. Alan Sweeney 6. Ciarán Russell 7. Jamie Malone

8. Darren O’Neill 9. Cathal O’Connor

10 Pearse Lillis 11. Podge Collins 12. Eoin Cleary

13. Emmett McMahon 14. Keelan Sexton 15. Aaron Griffin.

Manus Doherty (Clare) v Shane McGuigan (Derry)

Derry’s Shane McGuigan, pictured after last month’s Ulster SFC final win over Donegal in Clones, is his side ‘leading scorer this season.
(Image: © INPHO / Ryan Byrne)

Shane McGuigan has scored 2-50 for Derry this season and he was the leading scorer in this season’s Ulster Senior Football Championship with 1-17.

The Slaughtneil ace is also his side’s left-footed free taker so he’ll carry extra responsibility on Saturday, but he has proven up to the task time and time again this season.

It seems likely he’ll be marshalled by Manus Doherty on Saturday afternoon in Croke Park.

The Banner defender held Conor Cox scoreless from playing in the Qualifier victory over Roscommon earlier this month and he could be the man to track McGuigan this weekend.

Jamie Malone (Clare) v Ethan Doherty (Derry)

Derry's Ethan Doherty in action during the Ulster final
Derry’s Ethan Doherty in action during the Ulster final
(Image: © INPHO / Ryan Byrne)

Colm Collins will have noted how Derry’s early goal in the Ulster Final was set up by Ethan Doherty.

The Glen ace has been superb for Rory Gallagher’s men this season and his stunning form merits special attention. If Clare do decide to man-mark Doherty, they could look to one of their heroes from their famous win over Roscommon.

Jamie Malone held his nerve to kick the stoppage-time winner in Croke Park, but he is also a former All-Star nominee and would have the legs to follow the lively Doherty.

Conor Glass (Derry) v Cathal O’Connor (Clare)

Derry midfielder Conor Glass celebrates after the Ulster final
Derry midfielder Conor Glass celebrates after the Ulster final
(Image: © INPHO / Ryan Byrne)

Roscommon always had a tendency to load the middle eight with strong, physical players, but Cathal O’Connor was the stand-out midfielder in the round two Qualifier tie in Croke Park.

He’ll need to be at his very best again on Saturday afternoon as he’ll be up against one of the best fielders in the game at present.

Conor Glass has been nothing short of a revelation for Derry this season and the former Aussie Rules star will surely relish playing a big Championship game in Croke Park.

Yet, the Glen clubman has also shown that he can roll up his sleeves and aid out his defense when required and he’ll be hoping for another big performance against Clare.

Brendan Rogers (Derry) v Keelan Sexton (Clare)

Keelan Sexton scores a penalty for Clare late in their win over Roscommon in Croke Park earlier this month.
Keelan Sexton scores a penalty for Clare late in their win over Roscommon in Croke Park earlier this month.
(Image: © INPHO / Bryan Keane)

When your team loses a penalty shoot-out in the provincial championship then misses another in the following game, it takes a brave man to step up to take the next spot-kick.

Yet, Keelan Sexton showed nerves of steel to convert the crucial late penalty against Roscommon and he finished with 2-6 to his credit in a Man-of-the-Match performance.

Derry aren’t exactly short of man-markers, but the in-form Brendan Rogers is likely to take on the role after his brilliant display against Michael Murphy in the Ulster Final last month.

Chrissy McKaigue v Podge Collins

Clare's Podge Collins in action against Roscommon
Clare’s Podge Collins in action against Roscommon
(Image: © INPHO / Bryan Keane)

It hardly seems like nine years since Podge Collins was starring for Clare as they beat Cork after a replay to seal the 2013 All-Ireland hurling title.

Collins is one of the few Clare players with plenty of Croke Park experience and he’ll be picked up by a man who is also a dual star with his club side Slaughtneil.

Chrissy McKaigue has held Paddy McBrearty (Donegal) and Jack McCarron (Monaghan) scoreless in his last two Championship outings.

Collin might have only scored one cracking point against Roscommon, but his link-up play was excellent and Rory Gallagher might deem that he is a greater threat than Eoin Clearly.

Read next:

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