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Rejuvenated Clogher Valley are hoping to take final step

By Ronnie Ingram

clogher Valley are gearing up for their fourth successive Irish Junior Cup semi-final appearance this afternoon, and a win at Ashbourne would send them into their second final - where they would face either holders Enniscorthy or DLSP.

Even though Ulster provided three of the semi-finalists for the two seasons prior to this campaign, only two teams from the province have ever won the trophy - Rainey in 2005-6 and City of Derry in 2009-10.

Valley, however, did come close in 2013-14, losing out 10-9 against Enniscorthy.

Their season has began to improve after a disastrous start saw them lose their first six Kukri Division 1 games.

They are now on a roll with four successive wins in all competitions, including two against league leaders Portadown.

Valley had a scare at training on Tuesday when one of their key players, David Sharkey, sustained a leg injury but he has now been declared fit to play.

Centre Toby McAlpine is unavailable but 19-year-old former Dungannon Royals ace Philip Wilson is included. The full-back has improved with experience and his try-saving tackles against Portadown and Dromore saw Clogher through.

Valley are fortunate that Ashbourne, who are lying in sixth of the eight teams in Leinster 1A, appear to be the weakest of the three Leinster sides in the semis.

They have managed only three league wins in nine outings whereas Enniscorthy and DLSP are lying in second and third respectively. Home advantage can mean so much but should Clogher progress, they will aim for the Cup on neutral territory.

Belfast Telegraph

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