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Watty Grahams stage late drama

By John Campbell

Watty Grahams, Glen could hardly be faced with a bigger obstacle in their bid to land what would be a hat-trick of Ulster under 21 club titles now that they have been paired with Crossmaglen Rangers in Sunday week's final.

In yesterday's semi-finals Rangers found themselves in a back to the walls situation in the second half before they edged out Stewartstown Harps by 2-12 to 1-12, while Watty Grahams staged a dramatic second half recovery to shade Donegal representatives Gweedore by 2-11 to 1-10.

Rian O'Neill proved the ace in the Rangers pack by landing both their goals while his brother Oisin also made a handsome contribution to the team's triumph.

However, it was the indomitable courage and work ethic of midfield ace Stephen Morris that won him the man of the match award, his stoic resilience never better highlighted than when Rangers were reduced to 13 players after Aidan Rushe - quite inexplicably, indeed - and Ryan McKeever had incurred dismissals after they had each received two yellow cards.

Rangers' joint managers Gareth O'Neill and Oisin McConville now plan a concerted build-up to the final as they seek to arrest the dominance of Watty Grahams.

Club secretary Gerard Rushe believes that the final will provide a thrilling climax to the competition.

"We met Watty Grahams a few years ago in the Ulster club under 16 final and obviously a lot of the lads who played on that occasion are still performing with these two teams so it should be a cracking encounter," maintains Rushe.

And if the Glen side needed any reminding that retaining their trophy will be a difficult task, then they certainly got that yesterday.

When they trailed Gweedore by 1-8 to 0-4 at half-time, they looked as if they were about to exit the competition, but a superb comeback after the break saw them hold their opponents scoreless in that period prior to their plundering of a brace of points in extra-time.

But Ciaran Convery, Brendan Mulholland, Danny Tallon and Jack Doherty were to the fore in a Watty Grahams side that provided the man of the match in Conal Darragh who was outstanding throughout.

Belfast Telegraph

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