Moortown boss Devlin gearing up for stern Cross test
It may not quite be a full-scale Tyrone v Armagh rivalry but nevertheless the Boxing Day meeting of Moortown and Crossmaglen Rangers in the first of the Ulster Minor Club Tournament semi-finals at the St Paul's complex in Belfast will carry a distinct edge.
Both teams have impressed to date in the competition, Moortown in accounting for Monaghan champions Donaghmoyne and Crossmaglen ending the hopes of Rostrevor in tingling quarter-final ties.
Moortown boss Paul Devlin, a former Tyrone player, is no stranger to coming face-to-face with Armagh opponents and acknowledges that his team's task on Saturday will be "a massive test".
He stresses that encountering Rangers at any level renders it imperative that any side seeking to put one over on them must bring their 'A' game to the table.
"Crossmaglen have already shown their capabilities and this will be a massive test," he says.
Jack McGuigan, Conan McLernon, Emmet McGuigan, Aaron Courtney and Rian McLernon are key players in a Moortown side that caught the eye repeatedly in winning the Tyrone crown.
But Crossmaglen are well-equipped for battle. Micheal McCabe was player of the match against Rostrevor and his marksmanship will now be central to the team's attacking strategy.
Oisin O'Neill is blossoming into a top-class forward and having already been given his senior baptism by Oisin McConville and John McEntee, he can unleash his newly-acquired experience against the Moortown defence.
Rangers manager Kieran Donnelly, while pleased with his team's performance against Rostrevor, is hoping they can raise their game further.
"Before we met Rostrevor I expressed concerns that we had not played together for three months or so but in the event things turned out quite well," points out Donnelly. "But we certainly cannot take anything for granted going into this game against Moortown."