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Final countdown for full-strength Clogher

By Ronnie Ingram

Last season's Irish Junior Cup defeated finalists Clogher Valley are hoping to go one better this year - but first face a most difficult hurdle against Bangor in the semi-finals at Upritchard Park this afternoon.

Manager Ritchie Haire realises his team have lost the their last two games at Bangor but Clogher will be at full strength this time.

"We have no injury problems and Matty Robinson, last season's Player of the Year, who was injured in October, returns to the second row," he said.

"We are also fortunate to have two very strong replacement props on the bench as we feel the game will be won up front. Philip Moore and Richard Primrose have been selected but when they were replaced by Ronan McAleer and Rodney Bennett in the last round against Connemara the opposition thought they were even stronger."

In their last meeting Bangor won the league encounter 15-12 but the visitors had a player red-carded five minutes into the second half.

Last week Clogher had an unexpectedly easy game against a strong Ballyclare and ran out 27-0 winners, so they are in a confident frame of mind.

"We know it will be tough as this is a semi-final and Bangor have home advantage. We have the experience of having reached the same stage for the past two seasons but it comes down to which team plays better on the day" Haire added.

Clogher, currently second in Qualifying 1, have already eliminated Clondalkin 16-14 and Connemara 43-10 while fourth-placed Bangor had victories over Clonmel 21-15 and the holders Enniscorthy 14-12.

The other semi-final involves CIYMS against Dundalk who have only lost once this season. CI have only three wins from eight League outings but save their best for the Cup.

To reach this stage they defeated Ballinasloe 37-10 and came away with an 18-13 success at Coolmine.

Belfast Telegraph

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