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O'Neill leading Rangers cup charge

Ulster Club MFC

When Crossmaglen Rangers teenager Oisin O'Neill was sent on as a replacement for Johnny Murtagh in the 43rd minute of the recent Ulster Club Championship quarter-final against Cargin, he lost no time in making an impact.

Having whipped over three points within a short space of time, O'Neill had clinically copper-fastened his place in the starting line-up for the semi-final against Kilcoo and the decider against Scotstown.

Now with an Ulster senior club championship medal to his credit, he is today poised to take will what he hopes will be a big step towards a provincial minor club medal when he lines out for Rangers against Rostrevor in the quarter-final at the St Paul's complex in Belfast (1.30pm).

O'Neill's experience at senior level will undoubtedly bolster the Rangers attack but manager Kieran Donnelly harbours fears that his side could be ring-rusty as they have not played together for three months. "I know a number of the lads have been training with the senior squad and that will stand to them but just the same you worry about the cohesion and fluency of the team after a lengthy break from action," says Donnelly.

Donnelly's boys face a Rostrevor side that caused raised eyebrows in winning the Down title but which nonetheless contains a core of talented players.

Rostrevor boss Eamon Devlin admits that Crossmaglen Rangers will prove a major obstacle to his team's hopes.

"This is really bonus territory for us but when you get this far you want to do yourself justice," says Devlin. "Crossmaglen Rangers have a great reputation at all levels and they will bring tradition and passion to the table."

Belfast Telegraph

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