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Calling the shots

By Declan Bogue

Ulster Senior Football Club Championship, Kilcoo (Down) v Crossmaglen (Armagh), Sunday, Pairc Esler, 2.30pm. Looking back over the last meeting of these two, when Cross lost their Ulster title in 2013 to The Magpies, you can see that Kilcoo have managed a healthy turnover of players.

There are simply no new faces from the Crossmaglen line-out that beat Cargin in the quarter-final, while Kilcoo have managed to graft the likes of JJ McLaughlin, Aaron Morgan and Martin Devlin into the starting line-up.

Despite sensible words aimed at diffusing the tensions surrounding this fixture, it will be played in a mood of spite. In that environment, you would have to fancy Cross’ chances.

Verdict: Crossmaglen

Scotstown (Monaghan)  v Trillick (Tyrone) Sunday, Brewster Park, 2.30pm

While Slaughtneil manager Mickey Moran elected to leave his talented but raw full-back alone and at the mercy of the quality of ball delivered to Scotstown’s Darren Hughes — who is as devastating at full-forward as he is everywhere else — there is little chance that Trillick manager will facilitate such generosity.

Trillick play very much in the Tyrone county house style, with retreating wing-forwards, a fondness for a short kickout, and a patient, probing style. There will also be sweepers, and plenty of them.

A mouth-watering tussle between Kieran Hughes and Mattie Donnelly awaits. Scotstown’s overall quality and experience should be enough.

Verdict: Scotstown

Ulster Intermediate Football Club Championship, Glenavy (Antrim) v Bundoran (Donegal) Sunday, Pairc Esler, 12.45pm

Bundoran’s season has been spectacular so far, with the undoubted highlight of beating their much more illustrious neighbours Aodh Ruadh Ballyshannon in the Donegal intermediate semi-final rivalled by their 25-point win in the county final.

It was their win after extra-time against Lurgan’s Clann Eireann however, that has given them the belief they can achieve something big this winter.

Verdict: Bundoran

Doohamlet (Monaghan) v Loughinisland (Down), Sunday, Athletic Grounds, 2.30pm

Doohamlet’s experience at this level is invaluable, but they are coming up against a team that are perhaps operating at a level they might not necessarily should be.

What tips the scales back towards the Monaghan men is how Loughinisland will be without the flamboyant Gareth ‘Magic’ Johnston, who has a muscle injury from their impressive win in the last round over Edendork.

Given that they have got past Greenlough in the preliminary, and got the better of an impressive Edendork side, you would have to concede that momentum is with the Down men.

Verdict: Loughinisland

Ulster Junior Football Club Championship Templeport (Cavan) v Faughanvale, (Derry) Sunday, Brewster Park, 12.45pm

Templeport were beaten in their first game in the group stages of the Cavan Junior Championship, but since that, their form lines have been almost exemplary, emphasised by the clinical way they defeated Naomh Ultan of Donegal in the quarter-final.

Faughanvale squeezed past Brackaville of Tyrone in the previous round. Should they be able to get enough ball to their 35-year-old player-manager Joe Grey, they will come close.

Verdict: Templeport

Glassdrumman (Down) V Rockcorry (Monaghan) Sunday, Athletic Grounds, 12.45pm

A Curate’s Egg of a performance from Rockcorry in their quarter-final tie against Coa of Fermanagh. By half-time, the game was over as a contest, but by the finish they were delighted to hear the whistle as Coa ground down the margin to a mere three points.

Should they put two strong halves together, they will have enough for the men from the foothills of the Mournes.

Verdict: Rockcorry.

Belfast Telegraph


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