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Warrenpoint provide romance in Down

Terence 'Sambo' McNaughton
Terence 'Sambo' McNaughton
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

The Down final this weekend involves a dash of romance.

Can Warrenpoint, taking part in their first final since 1978, produce something special to measure up to a Kilcoo side who have featured in the last seven county finals, losing their crown last year to Burren after putting together six consecutive triumphs.

Warrenpoint have been something of a surprise package for sure, but the way they demolished Ballyholland in the semi, and the bit of edge between them and Kilcoo this season, makes this a huge game.

In hurling, the Ulster club campaign gets under way in earnest this weekend.

Antrim champions St Enda's, managed by Terence 'Sambo' McNaughton, took the county intermediate title a fortnight back with a final win over Carey in Cushendall, and have a tricky battle with Derry's Banagher in Owenbeg tomorrow (throw-in 2.30pm).

The Derry club may feel that they are suffering a bit of a slump after losing a county football semi-final, but have capable hurlers in their group, not least Brian Óg McGilligan, and the high-scoring Tiernan McCloskey.

Donegal side Setanta are in the mix with a home tie against Armagh's Keady, that game hosted in Letterkenny tomorrow, again with a 2.30pm throw-in.

Setanta won the Ulster Junior title two years ago by beating Na Magha of Derry city, and have now taken the step up. Some doubts surround Kevin Campbell, their veteran free-taker, but it is expected he will be available.

Keady did not win a county title, but with Middletown competing at senior level, with Slaughtneil in the Ulster semi-final on October 27, they enter the intermediate championship.

There is something of a local derby with Lisbellaw of Fermanagh facing Dungannon of Tyrone.

The 'Blaw will be without Mark Slevin who is out for this one with illness, while Hogan Cup winning footballer Tom Keenan is injured for the Brewster Park clash at 7pm tonight.

Last year's All-Ireland junior finalists Castleblayney face Bredagh of Down at their own grounds tonight at 7pm.

The Ulster Junior Club Hurling Championship also gets under way. Inniskeen of Monaghan have home advantage of sorts when they face Tyrone champions Naomh Colum Cille, that game tonight at Castleblayney as a curtain raiser, beginning at 5.15pm.

Eoghan Rua of Coleraine face Cavan side Mullahoran.

The Derry side played an Ulster Intermediate final against St Brigid's of Cloughmills in recent years and could be too strong, that game at Owenbeg tomorrow at 12.45pm.

Finally, Antrim champions Gort Na Mona travel to Letterkenny to face home side St Eunan's tomorrow at 12.45pm.

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