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Down veteran Benny Coulter takes Mayobridge to county football semi final

By John Campbell

Any notion that time might have caught up with Down veteran Benny Coulter was clinically dispelled when he turned in an outstanding performance at midfield for Mayobridge in their handsome 1-15 to 1-8 county championship win over Bryansford.

Coulter's impressive fielding, work-rate and support play underscored a dynamic Mayobridge display that also saw Coulter's Down colleague Conor Garvey highlight his own versatility by proving a solid barrier at centre-half-back.

Certainly, whoever is appointed as new Down boss in succession to James McCartan will surely derive encouragement from the form of the Mayobridge 'big two'.

Kevin O'Rourke's well-taken goal and six points from Keelan Gallagher ensured that Mayobridge remained well in front for the most part in a game spliced with some fine scores.

Ciaran Branigan snaffled a late goal for Bryansford that merely lent additional gloss to the final score from their perspective but failed to camouflage their shortcomings.

This year's Down skipper Mark Poland was in fine form for Longstone who beat Saval by 1-11 to 1-10, the winning point coming in added time from Michael Ireland who had earlier scored their goal.

Former Down captain Ambrose was also in fine form for the winners and snapped up a point from midfield.

Tonight Pairc Esler, Newry will host one of the most attractive matches in the championship when Kilcoo meet Clonduff.

The Antrim senior football championship programme at the week-end was overshadowed by the sudden death of former player, referee Eddie Fitzsimmons.

A son of former Antrim mentor Frank Fitzsimmons, he was a brother of Frankie jnr who is understood to be frontrunner for the county football boss's post.

Frankie jnr currently manages Lamh Dhearg who were due to meet Cargin on Saturday night but this match has now been re-arranged for Wednesday evening.

In other Antrim matches reigning champions St Gall's maintained their drive for a possible eighth successive title by overcoming St Paul's by 2-23 to 0-10 while Creggan Kickhams beat St James's, Aldergrove by 2-17 to 1-7 while St Teresa's surprised St John's by winning by 1-11 to 0-9.

In the Derry football championship, Coleraine Eoghan Rua rekindled hopes that they could repeat their county title triumph of four years ago when they beat a disappointing O'Donovan Rossa, Magherafelt by 1-15 to 0-10.

The Monaghan senior football championship produced two cracking ties with Ballybay landing 1-18 and Truagh recording 2-15 in a titanic draw while Castleblayney Faughs got the better of Latton by 1-9 to 0-7.

Ciaran Hanratty's goal underpinned Castblayney's victory as the focus now switches to the Ballybay v Truagh replay.

Belfast Telegraph


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