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Armagh up next for Towns Cup holders Clogher Valley

By Jonathan Bradley

Holders Clogher Valley will play Armagh IIs in the quarter-finals of the Powerade Towns Cup after the draw for the last eight was held yesterday afternoon.

David Black's side - who have been finalists in four of the last five seasons - are favourites to win the crown again and looked impressive when defeating Coleraine 25-0 in their second round tie on Saturday.

Armagh, however, will travel to the Cran on February 14 boosted by their performance against Bangor at the weekend.

The County Down side - who will contest the All-Ireland Junior Cup final against Dundalk on Saturday - were seen as Clogher's most tangible threat but they were dumped out after a 30-24 reverse.

Last season's beaten finalists Donaghadee are also vying for a place in the last four and will face Carrickfergus at Donaldson Park.

The Paul McKenzie coached squad were comfortable winners against local rivals Holywood in the last round and, having also won the Junior Cup in 2011, have proven to be relatively adept at knock-out rugby in recent seasons.

Carrick are one of two Qualifying Two sides in the last eight, and advanced on Saturday after City of Derry IIs failed to field a team, but have already claimed a scalp this season when they knocked out Ballyclare in round one.

Ballynahinch IIs, beaten finalists in both 2009 and 2011, will face a stern test after they were paired with Enniskillen.

The County Fermanagh side have already enjoyed one good cup run this season after making the semi-finals of the Junior Cup and dismantled an Ards second string 57-0 last weekend.

However, with the quarter-finals falling on an Ulster League date rather than an All-Ireland League weekend, Chris Parker will expect to have a strong panel available for the tie.

The final fixture of the round will see Portadown travel to face Ballymena IIs.

The men from Chambers Park were impressive in their second round tie, utilising a strong second-half showing to power their way past Dromore, and are looking to win the trophy for the first time since 1959.

Ballymena - beaten by Clogher Valley in 2012 - were not really tested against Larne on Saturday but overcame Dungannon at Stevenson Park in the first round.

Belfast Telegraph


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