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O'Fiaich Cup left in doubt after delay until New Year

The O'Fiaich Cup competition, the semi-finals of which had been provisionally fixed for this week-end, has now been postponed until the New Year.

But the prospects of the tournament taking place even then are distinctly remote given that all county teams will be strongly focussed on the Bank of Ireland McKenna Cup and the Allianz League.

Armagh had been scheduled to meet Louth and Derry were due to take on Tyrone this weekend with the winners due to meet in the final the following Sunday but the games will not now go ahead.

And it appears the main reason for the postponement of the competition is that Armagh are not officially due to resume collective training or playing until December 8 after their involvement in the All-Ireland quarter-finals in August.

It is understood that the Croke Park authorities have been in touch with the Armagh county board to reiterate that this decision must be observed and this will mean a delayed competitive debut for new manager Kieran McGeeney.

The event has been hosted by Crossmaglen Rangers in recent years. Rangers secretary Gerard Rushe stresses that while the matter is out of the club's hands there is disappointment that the competition is not going ahead as envisaged.

"There was a decent level of interest in last year's competition and this had been a source of encouragement for this year's event so it's disappointing to note this eleventh-hour setback," states Rushe.

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"We have remained hopeful that some sort of resolution can be found but you would have to say that things are very much up in the air. Obviously teams are going to be strongly committed from the first Sunday in January onwards and this is something that has to be taken into consideration when looking at the overall picture."

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