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McGoldrick family can power another Coleraine coup

By John Campbell

When Eoghan Rua, Coleraine overcame Slaughtneil after a replay, they not only threw the Derry Senior Football Championship wide open but lent a whole new dimension to the Ulster club series.

Slaughtneil appeared to be on the way to their fifth Derry title in succession, which would have been regarded as a precursor to a possible fourth Ulster club crown, but suddenly those clubs still in the hunt for championship honours are confronted by a landscape of a rather different hue - and the real possibility of going further than they might have dreamt.

Eoghan Rua are among those sides, and when they face Lavey in tomorrow's Derry decider at Celtic Park (3.30pm) they will be bidding to repeat their title triumph of 2010.

Manager Sean McGoldrick has five sons - Barry, Colm, Liam, Sean Leo and Ciaran - in a side that also includes the vastly experienced Niall Holly.

McGoldrick Snr, clearly delighted to be in the frame for county honours, acknowledges that Lavey will enter the fray fuelled by ambition.

"I look on these games as 50/50 affairs," says the Eoghan Rua boss.

"It's a great boost for the players to be in this final because they have worked very hard this season. We know that Lavey will put it up to us."

In neighbouring Tyrone, Killyclogher will hope to repeat their win of two years ago over Coalisland when the teams renew their rivalry in the decider at Healy Park, Omagh (4.00pm).

Killyclogher are powered by the McCann brothers Conall and Tiernan, along with Mark Bradley, while Coalisland will look to Michael McKernan, Padraig Hampsey and Paddy McNeice for inspiration.

Crossmaglen Rangers bid to return to the Armagh throne which they vacated two years ago when they meet Ballymacnab in the county championship final at the Athletic Grounds (4.00pm).

The Rangers' potent fusion of youth and experience might prove too much for a Ballymacnab side that will lean on the Grugan brothers Rory and Jack, plus Gavin McParland, for leadership.

There is a real battle of neighbours in the Antrim final where Erin's Own, Cargin will meet Kickhams Creggan in the final at Ahoghill (3.30pm).

Erin's Own ruled the roost in Antrim some years ago but Creggan have not been in the final for 41 years.

The Cargin club's strength in depth - they have Justin Crozier, Tony Scullion, Michael McCann, Michael Magill, Kevin O'Boyle and Tomas McCann in their ranks - could prove decisive.

Kickhams Creggan manager Kevin Madden remains optimistic of success, though.

"We are over the moon to be in this final and, while we found the going tough at the semi-final stage against St John's, we feel this has sharpened our edge," observes ex Antrim ace Madden.

In the Cavan final, Cian Mackey is hoping his Castlerahan side can come good against Crosserlough after three successive defeats in the decider.

Both teams have charted difficult courses into tomorrow's game at Kingspan Breffni Park (4.00pm) and Castlerahan might just enjoy a change in fortune on this occasion.

In the Donegal final, Naomh Conaill will meet Gaoth Dobhair at Ballybofey (4.00pm).

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