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Kilcoo favourites to reach final but Burren lie in wait

By John Campbell

Down kingpins Kilcoo will put their title on the line when they meet Mayobridge in the second semi-final of this year's football championship at Pairc Esler, Newry tonight.

Manager Jim McCorry believes a Mayobridge side which includes Benny Coulter, Conor Garvey, Keith Quinn and whizz-kid Cory Quinn will test his Kilcoo outfit to the full.

"Mayobridge have grown accustomed to winning county titles and will be keen to claim our scalp," maintains McCorry.

But McCorry knows for certain now that, should they win, his side will face a monumental task in the final following Burren's explosive 7-16 to 0-9 destruction of hapless Saval last night.

This was the ultimate mis-match with Burren streets ahead of their beleaguered opponents in terms of technique, pace and finishing power.

In a stunningly efficient display, Burren racked up scores with consummate ease, especially after the experienced Danny Hughes was red-carded in the second quarter thus rendering Saval all but toothless.

Shea McArdle (2-2), Donal O'Hare (0-6), Anton McArdle (1-1), Sean Murdock (1-1) and Eoin McCartan (1-0) were among the players that shared in a Burren score-fest which will surely send reverberations round the Ulster club scene.

Niall Madine scored seven points for Saval on a night to forget for his side.

Scotstown are through to the Monaghan senior championship final but they will have to wait until Friday night to discover just who they will meet.

In disposing of Ballybay by 3-13 to 2-9, Scotstown's emphasis on fast-flowing football reaped dividends with Shane Carey proving their top marksman with 2-4.

Ballybay relied heavily on Paul Finlay and he scored 1-6 in the first-half but although his Farney county colleague Chris McGuinness landed a second goal after the break, they were well short.

In the other quarter-final, Clontibret and Monaghan Harps will replay on Friday at Emyvale after drawing 1-11.

Clontibret led by 1-9 to 0-4 with 16 minutes to go, having taken their inspiration from a Conor McManus goal, but a Shane Smith goal triggered the Harps' revival.

Meanwhile, Cavan Gaels, with Seanie Johnston back in their ranks, underlined just why they are favourites to win the county senior football title when they beat Castlerahan by 2-14 to 0-7 last night.

Martin Dunne's first-half goal sent the Gaels on their way – they led 1-6 to 0-3 at that stage – and when Paul Graham hit the Castlerahan net for the second time after the break the game was as good as over. Johnston contributed three points.

County star Niall McDermott stole the show when Ballinagh overcame Crosserlough by 2-9 to 1-10 in the other semi-final. McDermott laid the basis for Ballinagh's victory when he posted 1-4 in the first-half.

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