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Club scene thrills Ulster chief

By John Campbell

Ulster Council chairman Martin McAviney believes that the club championship finals this weekend will further cement the strength of football in the province.

And he is confident that the unprecedented crowds which have highlighted the competition to date will be replicated at the Athletic Grounds and Healy Park to help bring down the curtain on the club scene in considerable style.

"I think that the Junior and Intermediate finals at the Athletic Grounds on Saturday are really attractive fixtures in their own right," said McAviney.

"Of course everyone is looking forward to seeing Ballinderry playing Glenswilly in the senior club final at Healy Park on Sunday.

"I don't think you could have come up with three better fixtures had you scripted this in advance."

The Crossmaglen versus Kilcoo clash attracted 9,700 to the Athletic Grounds, while the Ballinderry versus Kilcoo semi-final brought some 8,000 fans through the turnstiles and now McAviney predicts that Healy Park could house its biggest crowd ever for a club game.

"The matches so far have been brilliant and I think the fans will be out in huge numbers again this weekend," insists McAviney.

"I would have to say that this has been an outstanding club championship series overall and it gives us tremendous encouragement going forward.

The club scene is certainly vibrant and exciting in Ulster, that's for sure."

With the possibility of first-time champions being crowned in the junior, intermediate and senior sectors, considerable intrigue has been added to the week-end programme.

"This is probably the most interesting aspect of our finals," declares McAviney.

"The way in which these sides have all carried themselves and the style of football that they have played to date reflects great credit on them and on the province as a whole."

Belfast Telegraph

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