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Annagh remain on course for a hat-trick of titles

John Campbell

Never in their wildest dreams did the Annaghmore management team of Dessie McCormack, Paul McCullagh and Gavin McGilly believe that a triple success was in the gambit of their side this year.

Yet with the Armagh intermediate football championship title already in safe keeping and promotion gained to Division One, Annaghmore are two-thirds of the way to a sporting paradise.

They can take another giant stride on their journey tomorrow when they meet Monaghan champions Emyvale at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh in an Ulster club intermediate semi-final that is laced with intrigue.

Annaghmore might have had to work hard to overcome Cavan champions Kill in their quarter-final but Emyvale's handsome victory over Derry side Ardmore at the same stage has to be taken in context given that the Oak Leaf representatives offered a feeble quarter-final challenge.

But the Annaghmore officials are aware that Emyvale's consistency has been their strong point over recent years.

"We know we are going in against a good, well-drilled side and we have to be on our toes," says Dessie McCormack.

"While we were very happy to get the better of Kill we know it will take a big effort to reach the final. This would be a big feather in our cap if we could achieve this."

Annaghmore captain Michael McQuade anchors the side from midfield while Ciaran and Oisin MacIomhair are key figures in attack with Shane Smyth and Stephen McConville defensive pillars.

Emyvale will look to James Bellew, Colin Hughes, David Bellew and Ryan McAnespie to underpin their push for a final spot.

Manager Declan Brennan has considerable experience at club level and is hoping that his team's pace and fluency will prove decisive.

In the other junior championship semi-final at Brewster Park, Enniskillen, Donegal champions Milford, with former All-Ireland winner Tommy Ryan as part of their management team, face a stiff test against Tyrone champions Killeeshil.

Kevin Hughes is still a doubt for the O'Neill county side while John McMullan, Damian Small and Rory McCann are quality forwards who could prove a hot handful for the Milford defence.

In overcoming Davitts by 0-22 to 1-16 in their quarter-final Milford showed that they carry a marked scoring touch and this is likely to again be in evidence tomorrow.

Luke Barrett and Anthony Fisher form the Milford midfield while Christopher Barrett and skipper Paddy Peoples are key figures in their forward division.

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