Derry will take on Tyrone in the 2012 Dr. Mc Kenna Cup Final at the Morgan Athletic grounds at 8.30 pm on Saturday.
Tyrone overcame Queen’s and Antrim in the early rounds, while Derry edged past Cavan by a one point margin.
Down have had some close calls in this competition after narrowly beating Donegal to reach the semi-final before seeing off Down by just two points.
After topping section A of the competition by beating runners-up Fermanagh 0-13 to 1-7 at Healy Park, Tyrone got the better of Fermanagh for the second time in five days to book their place in the final.
The red hands fought back from four points down in the first half to hammer Peter Canavan’s Fermanagh 2-12 to 1-4 in last weekend’s semi-final.
Despite trailing at half-time, Derry dug deep to eventually overcome Down by two points ( 0-11 to 0-9) in their own semi-final.
James Conway will make his first Derry start in almost a year in Saturday’s Dr McKenna cup final against Tyrone at the Athletic Grounds.
Following last year’s one point defeat at the hands of their Derry rivals in the 2011 final, Tyrone will be hoping to reverse their fortunes and claim silverware ahead of this year’s league and championship campaigns.
Mickey Harte outlined winning a first Mc Kenna Cup title since 2007 as one of his aims at the beginning of the year and the red hands have certainly impressed so far as they continue to blood new talent following the retirements of some of their key players during the off-season.
Meanwhile, Derry boss John Brennan knows only too well the confidence that a Mc Kenna Cup title can bring following last year’s victory that propelled them into a successful year during which they reached an Ulster Final as well as enjoying a solid Allianz league campaign.
The sides will meet again in the Allianz League Division II at Healy Park, Omagh on February 12, where the stakes will arguably be higher, but with local bragging rights up for grabs in front of what is likely to be a large crowd, Saturday’s encounter is expected to be a hard-fought and eagerly contested affair.