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Duffy’s final mission is to rock Crossmaglen Rangers

By John Campbell

Armagh defender Paul Duffy is a man on a mission right now.



The versatile Pearse Og clubman is hoping to put one over on some of his county colleagues on Sunday when he lines out against Ulster and All-Ireland club champions Crossmaglen Rangers in the second semi-final of the Armagh football championship at the Morgan Athletic Grounds (6pm).

And far from being overawed by the task, Duffy is hopeful that the city club can repeat their stunning quarter-final victory of two years ago over the multi-titled Rangers.

But the tenacious defender, who conducted a very successful coaching course for youngsters during the summer as well as helping out with the GAA’s Cul Camps, recognises that this will be a far from easy task since the Rangers team is now a subtle blend of ambitious newcomers fused with a sprinkling of the old guard.

“Crossmaglen showed every other club the way ahead earlier this year when they won the All- Ireland club title. It will take a huge effort from us if we are to win,” admits Duffy.

Duffy readily concedes that his county team colleagues Paul Hearty, Aaron Kernan and Jamie Clarke, along with the evergreen Oisin McConville, provide a solid core of experience in the Rangers side. “We are not short on talent ourselves although of course few teams can match Crossmaglen’s overall playing resources,” says Duffy.

He is one of several players with inter-county experience in the Ogs’ line-up, the others being Andy Mallon, Anto Duffy, Kieran Hughes, J P Donnelly, Ciaran McKinney, Darnell Parkinson and Conor Clarke.

The first of the Armagh semi-finals takes place tomorrow when Granemore, with county ace Kieran Toner on board, take on Ballymacnab.

Meanwhile, St Gall’s are red-hot favourites to overcome Lamh Dhearg in the Antrim football final at Casement Park tomorrow night (7pm).

The 2010 All-Ireland club champions can look to the McGourty brothers CJ, Kieran and Kevin along with Colin Brady, Sean Burke and Aodhan Gallagher for inspiration against the Hannahstown side for whom ex-Antrim skipper Paddy Cunningham can provide leadership.

The first of the Down football semis will also be staged tomorrow night when Clonduff take on Kilcoo. The Derry semi-finals are scheduled for Sunday in Celtic Park when Ballinderry, without the suspended Enda Muldoon and James Conway, will face Dungiven while Loup will meet Kilrea and the second Down semi-final will also go ahead with Burren opposing Rostrevor.

The first of three quarter-finals in the Tyrone championship takes place tomorrow when Coalisland meet Omagh and then on Sunday there are two replays when Ardboe square up to Dromore and Carrickmore meet Clonoe.

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The GAA's controversial winter training ban is set for an overhaul.

The finer details of the plan are expected to be thrashed out at the next Central Council meeting on November 12 but it is understood that a more flexible, staggered system will be introduced.

The new rule will allow counties to return to collective training sooner, depending on when they were eliminated from the championship.

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