Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

GAA: Cross have perfect 10 in the bag...

Barring any draws the finalists in the Armagh senior championship will be known this evening following two intriguing semi-final clashes.

Barring any draws the finalists in the Armagh senior championship will be known this evening following two intriguing semi-final clashes.

First into action at Abbey Park (2.00pm) are Clann Na Gael and Killeavy. The Lurgan men have a proud tradition when it comes to the championship and that undoubtedly stems from their golden period from 1968 to 1981 when they were one of the top sides in the country.

During that period they lifted nine senior championship titles as well as being runners up on three occasions.

You have to go back 12 years to their last success though when they retained the McKillop Cup. Barry O'Hagan and Diarmaid Marsden both played on those teams and the former county attacking duo will once again be vital to their side's hopes of nailing down a final place.

They have already claimed the Division One league title this season and accounted for Maghery by a comfortable margin in the quarter-finals. Dwyane McAlinden is another key performer for them as is full back Michael Austin.

Killeavy will be bidding to make it through to their first county final since 1988. Steven McDonnell is the one man Clans must contain if they are to progress

McDonnell has been one of the leading forwards in the country now for a number of years and his five point contribution in the quarter-final against Tir Na Og helped Killeavy turn that game around.

Louth forward Mark Stanfield is also due to return after missing the last round due to Tommy Murphy Cup commitments.

Later on in the day at Carrickcruppin (5.00pm) there is the prospect of another mouth-watering clash between neighbours Crossmaglen and Dromintee in a repeat of last year's decider.

Cross came out on top with three points to claim their 10th title on the trot and in so doing beat Dromintee in the decider for the fourth time in five years.

Crossmaglen accounted for Mullabawn in the last eight and once again look the side to beat with their starting 15 laced with county players. John McEntee, Oisin McConville, Aaron Kernan and Francie Bellow are just some of their star names and they received a boost during the week with the return to fitness of Tony McEntee.

Dromintee easily overcame the Harps in the last round on a 1-11 to 0-8 scoreline with former county ace Cathal O'Rourke contributing an impressive nine points. Apart from his brothers Aidan, Micheal and Martin, they can also call on players such as Shane O'Neill, full back Eddie Martin and Hogan Cup winner Kevin Dyas.

When these two meet there's seldom much between them and this occasion should be no different.

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