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Local rivals square up in final reckoning

By Keith Bailie

Boxing Day's Bob Radcliffe Cup final could be Armagh City and Loughgall's last-ever chance to win Mid-Ulster's intermediate competition, when the two derby rivals go head-to-head at Loughgall's Lakeview Park, with kick-off set for 11am.

From next season, Championship One clubs will assume senior status which means Armagh and Loughgall will not compete in the Bob Radcliffe Cup unless they are relegated to Championship Two.

Armagh manager Marty Rice explained: "It's a strange feeling because the Bob Radcliffe Cup is an important competition to this club, but we don't actually want to be in it next season!

"At Armagh, our main aim this season is to secure Championship One status. If we can achieve that it means we won't participate in next season's Radcliffe Cup.

"For that reason, it would be a great year to win the competition. Winning the trophy two seasons ago was one of the highlights of my time at Armagh City, so it's a competition that means a lot to me.

"But Loughgall are in the same boat. They've won it 12 times in their history, so I know they will want to sign out in style."

At Tobermore's Fortwilliam Park, Institute will take on Limavady United in the Craig Memorial Cup final. Institute are currently in a relegation battle at the bottom of Championship One, while Limavady are top of Championship Two.

'Stute boss Kevin Deery said; "This is a competition we targeted at the start of the season, as we believed it was winnable, but we are up against a strong Limavady United side who are doing well in their division.

"Limavady knocked us out of the North-West Cup in August, so this is a chance for us to gain revenge. Although we are in different divisions I don't think there is much between the two clubs.

"However, we've improved as the season has gone on. In the last few weeks, we have defeated Ards in the league and won games in both the Irish Cup and the Intermediate Cup. "I couldn't fault the players performances this season. Even when we've lost, we've played well."

Elsewhere on Boxing Day, Annalong Swifts will face Ballyvea at Meadowvale in Drumaness, in the Bobby Dalzell Cup final.

In the Bessbrook Cup final, Cleary Celtic play Newry Celtic at the Newry Showgrounds.

In the final of the Savage Cup final at the Mid-Ulster Sports Arena in Cookstown, Dromore Amateurs play Cookstown Youth.

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