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Ulster Club U-21 Cup put on hold as big guns call in young stars

By John Campbell

When Kickhams Creggan launched their popular annual Ulster Club U-21 football competition, they little dreamt that senior inter-county calls might prove a stumbling block in terms of finalising semi-final dates.

But that's precisely the position in which the club is in right now as the raft of talent which has brought the series to a new level this year is now in demand.

With Antrim champions St John's having beaten Tyrone representatives Omagh St Enda's at the weekend to book a last four meeting with Watty Graham's, Glen, both teams were primed for further action next Sunday.

But now it appears Antrim manager Frank Fitzsimons and his Derry counterpart Brian McIver are intent on bulking up their squads for their league openers against Carlow and Donegal respectively and they are turning to the rich resources that both clubs possess.

Kickhams Creggan spokesman Eunan McAteer explains: "Obviously county calls take precedence but I think it bears testimony to the level of talent on view in our tournament that a number of players are now in demand by their counties."

Donegal champions St Eunan's are due to meet Cavan surprise packet St Joseph's in the other semi-final and it is expected that arrangements for both games will be finalised within the next 24 hours.

"We want to bring the curtain down on the tournament in style," adds McAteer.

Meanwhile, Derry won the inaugural Conor McGurk hurling tournament by beating Armagh in the final on a 2-16 to 1-15 score line with Liam Hinphey and Alan Grant bagging their goals.

In yesterday's O'Byrne Cup final, Dublin were taken to extra-time by Kildare before winning by 0-24 to 0-19 in a thrilling contest at Newbridge.

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