Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

GAA: Pearse Ogs know they must lift their game to overcome challenge of Cross

When Pearse Og meet Crossmaglen Rangers in next Sunday's Armagh senior county football championship final, they will parade their quota of established county panellists - players who are tried and trusted at the top level.

But they will also depend, too, on a huge input from a plethora of younger players who have come to the fore this term.

Chris Rafferty, Sean Moore and J J Clarke will be handed key roles against a Crossmaglen side bidding to land their 12th county championship title on the trot.

Pearse Og manager Adrian Clarke - father of J J and Armagh county ace Ronan - acknowledges that the younger brigade face a massive test against the might of Rangers who show no signs of losing their hunger for glory.

"While it is great to be going into the final, it's also very, very challenging. Crossmaglen have shown that their conveyor belt of talent is still operating very smoothly and the younger players in their team are making sure that the overall hunger is still there. They have competition for places, too, which is always a good thing in terms of keeping any team on its toes," said Adrian.

Rafferty, Moore and J J Clarke made useful contributions to the Pearse Og semi-final win over Maghery, but the fact that the Armagh city side had just one point to spare at the finish underlined a level of profligacy that could have fatal consequences if repeated against Rangers.

In their quarter-final tie, too, Pearse Og also won by the narrowest of margins against Ballymacnab, last year's county Intermediate champions.

Everyone connected with the preparation of the Ogs side knows that a much better level of finishing is required against Donal Murtagh's team - or else.

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