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McGourty on fire as St Gall's clinch title

By John Campbell

C J McGourty took advantage of the opportunity to remind new Antrim manager Frank Fitzsimmons that he still has plenty to offer at county level when he played a major role in helping St Gall's to lift the prestigious Kilmacud Crokes All-Ireland Sevens title for a record sixth time.

McGourty, overlooked by Liam Bradley while he was Antrim manager of late, was the heartbeat of a St Gall's side that displayed skill, tenacity and no little character in once again reigning supreme at Sevens level.

In a hard-fought semi-final St Gall's overcame Clonduff by 2-10 to 1-9 while in the final they just edged out Bryansford by 1-11 to 1-10.

To get to the final, Bryansford beat a relatively inexperienced Errigal Ciaran by 3-12 to 1-11, the Tyrone side nonetheless revealing that they are nonetheless gaining in maturity.

Meanwhile, Crossmaglen Rangers manager Oisin McConville maintains that "not in a million years" could he have scripted the scenario that was unveiled at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh at the weekend when a vastly under-strength Dromintee side went through the shambolic motions of fulfilling what was supposed to have been an important championship fixture against his team.

The Armagh county board is now investigating all the circumstances that led to a situation that saw few if any of the Dromintee first-team players in action because it appears that the majority of them were at a wedding.

The Rangers went through the motions of scoring 1-8 with Dromintee not surprisingly recording an undignified 'nil' and then retired to a corner of the pitch to undertake sprints.

"It was just ludicrous," states McConville.

"It makes Armagh a laughing stock. Not in a million years could I have seen a narrative such as this unfolding. It was a shambolic embarrassment."

Dromintee's anxiety to put "some sort of a team", as one official described it, onto the park stemmed from the fact that they wanted to avoid any potential penalties that might permeate down to their juvenile teams.

And the Armagh championship was cast in an even more dubious light when Harps beat Shane O'Neill's by 4-16 to 0-1, the match having ended as a contest by half-time when Harps were 3-8 to 0-0 ahead.

No such ignominy in the Derry championship, though.

Dungiven and Slaughtneil served up a thrilling semi-final which ended up all square, with Dungiven the better side in the first half, posting 2-6 while Slaughtneil landed 0-12. The replay is on Wednesday night with Ballinderry awaiting the winners in the final.

Belfast Telegraph

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