New Armagh manager Paul Grimley is conducting a talent-spotting exercise as the county senior football championship reaches its penultimate stage.
And Grimley was provided with considerable food for thought yesterday when Declan Carville turned in a man of the match performance in pirating a stunning |3-4 as Carrickcruppen overcame Sarsfields 4-10 to 0-12 in an imposing quarter-final replay victory.
Grimley has already indicated that the door is open to everyone and if Carville is prepared to walk though he would certainly appear to have a lot to offer the Orchard County in terms of opportunism and sheer quality of finishing.
His three-goal salvo came in a blinding spell of individual brilliance in the third quarter that saw Carrickcruppen transform a 0-9 to 0-7 deficit into a comfortable lead which they never lost despite being reduced to 14 players for the closing segment of the game.
With Billy Joe Padden imperious at midfield, Declan Monaghan and Paul Keenan lending considerable support to Carville, and their defence having tightened up considerably, Carrickcruppen grew in confidence and authority — qualities they will surely need when they face Crossmaglen in the semi-final next Saturday.
Michael Stevenson (3), Eugene McGeown (2) and Paul McGaughey (2) were Sarsfields’ top marksmen on a day when Carrickcruppen’s physicality and Carville’s midas touch proved too much for them.
New Monaghan manager Malachy O’Rourke had an opportunity to run the rule over a rich seam of talent when a number of experienced county players were on duty in yesterday’s championship semi-finals.
And he saw Ballybay pull off a major shock when they beat Latton 5-8 to 0-13 with old hands Paul Finlay and Colm Malone — ably assisted by Chris McGuinness and Drew Wylie — leading the scoring blitz.
Finlay and Malone deployed their experience to good effect and although Eoin Lennon, Bernard O’Brien and Eddie Lennon tried hard for Latton, there was little they could do.
Veterans Dessie Mone and Vincent Corey were very much to the fore for Clontibret in their fine |1-11 to 0-12 win over Castleblayney.
Conor McManus helped himself to the lion’s share of Clontibret’s scores while Paddy Mallon and Cormac Brady worked hard for a ’Blayney side that was without Ciaran Hanratty.
Meanwhile, Paul Brady warmed up for next month’s World Handball Championships in Dublin by turning in a fine performance at wing-forward for Mullahoran in their 0-14 to 1-9 Cavan Championship semi-final victory over Killygarry.
Brady’s experience and craft helped to underpin a Mullahoran game-plan that proved highly successful because of the influence of 39-year-old Christy Shields in midfield and a fine contribution of six points from Enda O’Reilly.
Paul Thomas scored Killygarry’s goal and the team produced a strong finish but Mullahoran managed to hold out to book their place in the decider against Kingscourt Stars who overcame Castlerahan by 1-16 to 0-6.
Barry Reilly set a fine example for the Stars while Joe McMahon capped a useful display by firing in the only goal of the game.