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Questions remain as champions Lamh Dhearg put Antrim county title on line against Cargin

 

By Declan Bogue

Tomorrow afternoon in Creggan is the place to be for the Antrim senior football Championship as Lamh Dhearg put their county title on the line against the side that were champions for two consecutive years previous, Erin's Own, Cargin.

A huge question mark hangs over the champions as county player Declan Lynch along with Kevin Quinn have not trained since the second round win over Aghagallon, which they ran out comfortable 2-15 to 0-9 winners.

Cargin have not been impressing too many with their league form this year but under the management of former Derry boss Damian Cassidy, they are targeting a big Championship.

Last year's defeated finalists St John's are in action in a real close local derby against St Teresa's. Resources are stretched with the Corrigan Park outfit with competing in the senior hurling Championship, but they should prevail. The other eye-catching game in St Gall's and Portglenone this weekend.

It's been a few years since the Milltown Row men were hoovering up all available Antrim titles but they still have serious talent within their ranks.

Slaughtneil are back in Owenbeg for another Sunday evening game in the Derry Championship, when they face Coleraine in the tie of the round.

Going for their fifth consecutive Derry title, Slaughtneil have had to absorb a couple of hard blows this season, not least losing their manager Terence McWilliams, who didn't last long on the side of Carn Togher. However, they have pulled together with an in-house management team and the transition has been seamless although they may be without their most creative forward, Christopher 'Sammy' Bradley for this one after he limped off against Magherafelt in the previous game.

Ballinderry are bidding to make it one step closer to getting back to their first Derry decider since 2014 when they face Glen in the quarter finals.

Glen have been the coming team in Derry for several years now, with serial success in the St Paul's Ulster minor tournament and the Ulster under-21 tournament at Creggan, and a lot of those teams have progressed into the senior ranks and a return is expected.

However, the experience and muscle-memory of the Ballinderry men could swing it.

Ballinascreen and Greenlough face off with the 'Screen men in decent form since former Antrim manager Liam Bradley took over mid-season and expected to progress.

There is also another tasty looking encounter with Lavey and the Loup facing each other on Sunday. Loup featured in the county final two years ago, while Lavey have not been there since 1998.

Armagh holders Armagh Harps face Crossmaglen in the Athletic Grounds.

Harps have been spluttering throughout the league, only fending off relegation with a final day win over Clann Eireann, and almost caught by Killeavy in a second round group game.

Tyrone champions Omagh have to face Aghyaran today in Strabane. Sitting fourth in the league, the Healy Park men will be expected to come through this test without too many strains.

Killyclogher will also be fancied to come out on top against Derrylaughan tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Dromore could have veteran Ryan McMenamin as a surprise inclusion when they face Coalisland in Pomeroy tomorrow.

Belfast Telegraph

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