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'Spies' will be out in force again

By John Campbell

A major 'spying' mission will be launched in the province this weekend and it could well determine the eventual destination of the coveted AIB Ulster Club Football Championship trophy.

When Cavan Gaels and St Eunan's meet in the preliminary round of the competition in Cavan, a delegation from Antrim champions St Galls will be in the stand to assess the match since the west Belfast side will meet the winners in the first round proper on November 4.

And just down the road from Cavan a group of Crossmaglen Rangers officials will be more than interested spectators when Castleblayney and Clontibret meet in the Monaghan Senior Football Championship final.

Rangers, the current Armagh, Ulster and All-Ireland champions, will meet the winners of the Monaghan decider in another Ulster quarter final also on November 4.

They may be in pole position to retain their provincial crown but Rangers are leaving nothing to chance, according to secretary Gerard Rushe.

"Both Castleblayney and Clontibret are only a few miles from where we are ourselves so obviously we know a lot about them," said Rushe.

"Blayney have very good players in the likes of Ciaran Hanratty and Dermot McArdle while Clontibret have the Mone brother John-Paul and Dessie in their side along with Vincent Corey so no matter who wins we will be facing a tough battle in the quarter finals."

Similarly, St Galls are approaching their quarter final with considerable caution particularly as they feel they did not quite do themselves justice on the Ulster stage last year having reached the AIB All-Ireland club final the previous year when they lost to Salthill/Knockacarra.

Secretary Vincent Ward maintains that St Galls, having won their Antrim crown back again, are more determined that ever to land another Ulster title - at least.

"It is going to be extremely difficult," said Ward.

"Cavan Gaels and St Eunan's are two teams loaded with decent players - boys like Anthony Forde, Nicholas Walsh, Seanie Johnson, Rory Cavanagh and Brendan Devennay for starters - so we certainly know what we will be up against no matter who wins this preliminary round tie."

With both the Monaghan and Derry county football finals due to be decided on Sunday, this means that the line up for the quarter finals should be complete.

Belfast Telegraph


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