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Rangers set to tap into riches

By John Campbell

Crossmaglen manager Donal Murtagh could find himself with an embarrassment of riches for his team's AIB All Ireland Club quarter-final against London in January.

Both John Donaldson and Cathal Short will have served their current periods of suspension by then, Stephen Kernan expects to be back to full fitness and John Murtagh will be challenging strongly for a starting slot.

However, Tony Kernan left Pairc Esler with his shoulder in a sling following Sunday's win over St Galls but is still optimistic that he will be fit for the All Ireland Club series. He scored a magnificent second-half point that helped to underpin the Rangers advantage in this period.

Manager Murtagh says: "Obviously we would be delighted to have everyone back on board but we will wait and see what happens in the interim. The fact that some of the guys have stepped up to the plate very smartly in our recent games certainly helps."

It had initially been thought that the one-month suspension imposed on key defender Donaldson would have impacted on the Rangers rearguard efficiency in the Ulster Club series but these fears proved groundless with Paul Kernan, Paul McKeown and Brendan McKeown having now cemented their qualities as top-class players.

" Brendan McKeown has been called into the Armagh squad and he has been showing this month just why this is the case. And for me Paul McKeown was man of the match in Sunday's win over St Galls by a country mile," adds Murtagh.

Paul Kernan, too, underscored his soaring value to the side by first curbing the influence of Karl Stewart and then minimising the input of dangerous substitute C J McGourty.

But while the Ulster champions are expected to comfortably surmount their London hurdle, there could be much bigger challenges awaiting on the horizon after this.

Belfast Telegraph


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