Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

GAA: Rangers two hurdles away from 12-in-a-row

Crossmaglen Rangers are hoping to make it the round dozen in terms of Armagh football championship titles this year.

But to achieve this they have two more major tests to face.



And the first of these will come on Sunday when they face Carrickcruppen at Silverbridge (5.30pm) in the semi-finals of the championship.



The Rangers were held to a draw by Dromintee before accounting for their south Armagh rivals rather easily in a quarter-final replay and their fusion of old and new faces will now confront a Carrickcruppen side who have charted a steady if unspectacular course this year.



Oisin McConville, the McEntee twins - John and Tony, Aaron and Stephen Kernan, John Donaldson, Paul Hearty and Johnny Murtagh represent the experienced core of the Rangers side with players like David McKenna and Johnny Hanratty already building on the impressive form they revealed last year.



Rangers' dominance of Armagh has given them an aura of invincibility that is positively intimidating.



In the other semi-final, Maghery will take on Pearse Og at Davitt Park, Lurgan, on Saturday (5.30pm).



Pearse Og were given a severe fright before they just managed to squeeze out a plucky Ballymacnab side (1-7 to 0-9) in their quarter-final.



It was an encounter in which Armagh ace Ronan Clarke played a cameo role as he continues his quest to find match fitness following the knee injury which has kept him out of the game for the best part of a year.



Maghery boast a plethora of young players and their form in the league suggests that they might provide a stiff test for an Ogs side who can look to Andrew Mallon, Ciaran McKinney, Paul Duffy and Pauric Duffy for inspiration.