Excitement builds as Derry prepare for first All-Ireland semi final in eighteen years

Excitement has reached fever pitch among Derry GAA fans ahead of the Oakleaf County’s All Ireland semi final with Galway in Croke Park tomorrow.

It’s 18 years since Derry’s last semi-final appearance and 29 years since they won an All-Ireland title.

Parts of the county are a sea of red and white, decked out in flags and bunting.

Meanwhile, a mass exodus of supporters to Dublin has begun.

Among those to leave early was team kit-man Colm McGuigan from Dungiven.

Colm has had the job for 27 years and it runs in the family. His father was a kit man for 33 year before him.

After such a long wait Colm says this semi-final is special

“It’s actually going to be unreal for me and for my family. It’s another great day for me to be part of this.”

Derry beat Ulster giants Tyrone and Donegal along the way, and got past Clare in the Quarter Final.

The run has inspired a new generation of young children to take up Gaelic Football in the county.

The chairman of  St. Canice’s GAA club in Dungiven says numbers at their summer camp are up by 30%

Stephen McGuigan says the children are experiencing Derry success for the first time in their lives

“The majority of the children will be on their way to Croke Park with their parents tomorrow for the first time. It’s unbelievable.”

All the young players at the summer camp wore their Derry Kits and they are in no doubt the Derry men will beat the Tribesmen.

Sharing their confidence is former Boxing Champ Eamonn O’Kane.

The Commonwealth Games Gold Medal winner says Derry will knock Galway out.

“Galway are going to be very hard to beat and I think they’ll do a good job. They’ve the punch in them to do it.”

Derry are one game away from realising the dream of reaching All Ireland final, the first in a generation.

Every fan UTV spoke to today, young and old, is convinced their heroes will make it over the line on Saturday.

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