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Final delay gives Crossmaglen grooms a headache

By John Campbell

The twice-postponed Ulster senior club football championship final between Crossmaglen Rangers and Naomh Conaill is not only proving a major worry for the teams and the Ulster Council, but it is threatening to undermine one element of the preparations for two weddings.

Rangers duo Stephen Kernan and Oisin McConville will both tie the knot shortly, but with the club final on hold, they have been unable to confirm their respective Stag night arrangements.

The match has been re-arranged again for next Sunday at Clones (1.45pm) and although there is the prospect of a thaw towards the end of the week, the fear is that the St Tiernach’s Park surface could still be frost-bound.

With some officials clinging to the belief that the All Ireland Club quarter-final between the winners and British champions Neasdon Gaels may be played pre-Christmas this could impose more problems on Stag night plans!

Kernan, outstanding as Rangers’ playmaker this year at centrethreequarters, will marry Claire Byrne on New Year’s Eve.

“Obviously the match against Naomh Conaill has been the major focus of us all since we beat Burren in the Ulster Club semi-final, but it has been very frustrating having to endure two postponements,” says Stephen.

“Thankfully most of our wedding arrangements are finalised, but plans for a Stag night are on ice, if you will forgive the pun.

“As things stand, we certainly hope to get away on honeymoon on January 3.”

McConville will marry Darina Markey from Dundalk on January 21 and even though he has rather more time on his hands to prepare than Stephen, the possibility that Rangers might yet be in action against Neasdon Gaels prior to then means that he must play a waiting game in terms of deciding his Stag night date.

“Stephen and I thought when we initially made our wedding plans that we would be getting married at a quiet time of the year from a GAA perspective,” said McConville.

“Obviously the hope is that the Ulster final will go ahead on Sunday, but we can take nothing for granted.

“Darina and I have all our plans made and we are naturally delighted about that, but finding a date for a Stag night is a bit of a problem at the moment.”

Crossmaglen club PRO Tom McKay makes the point that Rangers fans might find themselves having to dig deep into their pockets at a difficult time of the year to support their team.

“If the Ulster final goes ahead on Sunday and we win, that will be grand, but then our followers will have to get the money to go to London to see them play Neasdon Gaels. That could cause a certain amount of hardship,” says McKay.

Belfast Telegraph

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