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Impressive O'Neill has a rosy future for Orchard county

By John Campbell

Rian O'Neill carries an admirable pedigree into the Ulster minor football championship.

The strapping Armagh centre-half-forward already has experience of club football at senior level with Crossmaglen Rangers, has honed his craft at St Colman's College Newry and is a nephew of orchard county legend Oisin McConville.

The fact, too, that he is a son of new Rangers manager Gareth O'Neill also helps to embellish his CV but certainly does not fill him with any grandiose aspirations in the countdown to tomorrow's Ulster Championship quarter-final against Cavan.

"Cavan reached the provincial final last year, they have a number of players still on board from that side and they are playing at home so they have a lot going for them," said O'Neill.

Yet Armagh manager Paul McGrane, an All-Ireland hero in 2002, is unlikely to be fazed by the challenge confronting his side.

In their concluding game in the recent Ulster Minor League Armagh beat Down with O'Neill helping himself to 10 points - something that might just constitute a health warning for Cavan.

Down themselves will face Monaghan at Clones tomorrow (7pm) knowing that their opponents have unearthed a raft of fresh talent.

Antrim, meanwhile, will face a tough task to build on their fine win over Fermanagh when they meet Donegal tomorrow at Corrigan Park (7pm).

"Our performance against Fermanagh would certainly not suffice against this very talented Donegal side," says manager Hugh McGettigan candidly.

Belfast Telegraph


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