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Crossmaglen quartet facing late fitness battles for replay

By John Campbell

Crossmaglen Rangers face a major selection headache in advance of Saturday's Ulster Minor club football quarter-final replay against Cavan side Southern Gaels.

The Armagh minor champions could be stripped of as many as four players who picked up injuries in Sunday's drawn game between the teams at the St Paul's complex in Belfast.

"Some of the players are in a race against the clock to make the cut for Saturday. It will be touch and go for them as we see it," reveals club secretary Gerard Rushe.

A late point in extra-time by Robbie Fitzpatrick last Sunday earned Southern Gaels the right to a second bite at the cherry and Rushe believes that the Cavan outfit will have taken much from the drawn game.

"It was a hard-hitting match in which no quarter was asked or given. Although the tournament does not enjoy championship status, the intensity and passion that was on offer would have put many championship matches to shame," adds Rushe.

Burren await the winners in the semi-finals with Monaghan representatives Donaghmoyne and tournament favourites Watty Graham's, Glen due to meet in the other last four fixture.

Donaghmoyne have already flashed a warning that they mean business by the emphatic manner in which they ended the hopes of Fermanagh minor champions Erne Gaels.

But Watty Graham's looked equally impressive in overcoming Antrim champions O'Donovan Rossa.

Watty Graham's are bidding to land the trophy for an impressive fourth successive year and under the more than capable baton of former Derry senior star Feargal McCusker, they have already shown that this feat is well within their compass.

The passing of popular Dublin county board member Andy Kettle (68) following an illness has occasioned deep sadness within the GAA.

Andy was well-known throughout the country as someone who took his duties seriously and he showed an intense pride in everything connected with Dublin.

Nothing gave him greater pleasure than to see the Dubs win the All-Ireland football title in 2011 and 2013.

He took a keen interest in both football and hurling at grassroots level within the county and provided inspirational leadership on all fronts.

He is survived by his wife Phyllis and six children.

Belfast Telegraph

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