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Orchard duo O'Hanlon and Rafferty are aiming sky high

By John Campbell

Published 01/04/2015

Armagh face off with Tyrone in he Ulster Under 21 FC semi-final in Omagh this evening
Armagh face off with Tyrone in he Ulster Under 21 FC semi-final in Omagh this evening

Armagh duo Ciaran O'Hanlon and Ethan Rafferty will be hoping to land a double bonus within a matter of days when they line out in tonight's Ulster U21 football championship semi-final against Tyrone at Healy Park, Omagh (8.00pm).

O'Hanlon was man of the match at midfield and Rafferty fulfilled a key role in attack when the Orchard County clinched promotion to Division Two of the Allianz League by beating Louth (0-10 to 0-8) on Saturday.

Tonight they will form the Armagh engine-room against the Red Hands, hoping to take their side into the provincial decider.

Tyrone, too, boast a ration of senior experience in their line-up. Mark Bradley and Cathal McShane have been catching the eye in Mickey Harte's side of late and can bring their combined skills into play against what is regarded as a formidable Armagh defence.

Armagh boss Steven McDonnell acknowledges that his side will face a much more rigorous examination than they did in their recent one-sided quarter-final romp against Antrim (2-13 to 1-5).

"We know that Tyrone will be very tough opponents. They have a good tradition at this level and they certainly have some quality forwards in their side," states McDonnell.

Tyrone encountered little difficulty in dealing with the challenge of Fermanagh in their quarter-final, which they won by 0-17 to 0-7.

In the other semi-final, Donegal and Monaghan will clash at Brewster Park, Enniskillen.

Donegal caused a shock when they beat reigning champions Cavan at the quarter-final stage, a Ryan McHugh goal underpinning their 1-7 to 0-9 triumph.

Darach O'Connor and Hugh McFadden are other influential players in the side while Monaghan will look to Ryan Wylie and Ryan McAnespie.

Monaghan beat Derry 0-15 to 1-8 in the quarter-finals.

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