Turley brothers share lead role in Downpatrick's charge to glory
They may have been conspicuous from the honours list in Down in recent years, but RGU Downpatrick aim to take another big step towards this year's senior football championship title when they face Ballyholland, at Newcastle tonight (7.00pm).
The Turley brothers, Damian and Peter, currently form a solid midfield partnership for the side with Gerard Collins and the emerging Anthony Doherty underpinning their defence while Ruairi Quinn, Sean Bell and Garrett Trainor are lively forwards who are well capable of amassing scores.
Following their earlier 4-14 to 1-10 defeat of An Riocht, Downpatrick were held to a draw by CPN Warrenpoint before emerging on top in the replay by 2-15 to 0-12.
They now face a Ballyholland side that has looked sharp to date but may lack their opponents' all-round experience.
Castlewellan and Loughinisland will clash this afternoon in another quarter-final at Downpatrick (3.00pm) where Castlewellan, backboned by Sean Dornan, David Gilmore, Kevin Duffin, Cathal Crilly and Colm Flanagan should come out on top.
On Monday night reigning champions Kilcoo will take on Bryansford at Pairc Esler, Newry (8.15pm).
Kilcoo, still under the baton of Paul McIver, have a fifth consecutive title very much in their sights and with Daragh O'Hanlon, the Johnston brothers Ryan and Jerome and Paul Devlin, among others, providing the spine of their team they will be difficult to halt.
In today's Antrim football championship quarter-finals Creggan will face Ahoghill at Cargin (6.00pm) while St John's will take on Lamh Dhearg at Glenavy (6.00pm).
Matthew Fitzpatrick, Paddy McBride and Stephen Tracey can bolster St John's challenge while Ruairi McCann and Conor Small could help pilot Creggan to victory.
Teemore will take on Devenish in a Fermanagh quarter-final tonight at Brewster Park, Enniskillen (7.30pm) where Cian McManus can inspire Teemore while Thomas Tracey and Barry Mulrone can fire up Devenish.
The semi-finals of the Derry senior hurling championship will be staged today with Banagher taking on Kevin Lynch's (Dungiven) at Celtic Park (2.00pm) and Slaughtneil meeting Ballinascreen (3.45pm) as part of an attractive double bill.
Slaughtneil, of course, have been the dominant force in the county having won the last four titles and with Chrissy McKaigue, Cormac O'Doherty, Shane McGuigan, Meehaul McGrath, Karl McKaigue and Sé McGuigan still to the fore, even at this stage they look like they could make it a nap hand of county honours.
They beat Ballinascreen in the 2013 final by 4-13 to 2-11 and their recent track record will obviously give them a head start for today's assignment.
Kevin Lynch's side, meanwhile, ran Slaughtneil close in the 2014 decider (2-11 to 2-9) and the fact that they can still call on several experienced players such as the Hinphey brothers Kevin and Liam, Mark Craig, Ciaran Steele and Corey O'Reilly should help to give them the edge over a youthful Banagher outfit.