Ulster Club Senior Football Championship quarter-finals
St. Gall’s (Antrim) 2-05 3-09 Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh), Casement Park FT
MATCH REPORT TO FOLLOW
A place in the Ulster Senior Football championship semi-final awaits either reigning Ulster and AIB All-Ireland champions Crossmaglen Rangers or perpetual understudy’s St Galls, at Casement Park on Sunday (2.30pm)
Both sides have won the last seven Ulster titles between them and both St. Galls and ‘Cross won the All-Ireland club titles of 2010 and 2011 respectively.
This is a repeat of last year’s ill-tempered Ulster quarter-final that ‘Cross won 1-12 to 0-9, veteran Oisin McConville turned back the years and bagged 1-06.
Galls challenge all but evaporated after Rangers Paul Hearty saved Kevin Niblock’s second-half penalty to effectively seal the deal in champions favour. Galls cause wasn’t helped after Karl Stewart saw red thus weakening their side considerably and ‘Cross took full advantage.
Rangers convincingly claimed their 38th Armagh title obliterating Ballymacnab 2-22 to 0-03 – their 15th title in 16 years – and now attempt to go after Ulster crown number nine. St Galls, winners of the Ulster title in 2009 defeating Derry side Loup, beat Lamh Dearg in the Antrim final by three points to claim their 10th title in 11 year.
Ranger’s biggest problem is deciding who to start with, with an array of talent, young and old to choose from, not to mention McConville who is expected to be deployed as an impact sub, manager Tony McEntee has quashed any speculation that any player is guaranteed a starting berth. That said the inform Aaron Cunningham and Jamie Clark are certain to start up front.
As with every game involving Crossmaglen it’s hard to see past the Armagh men suffering defeat, even at the hands of such an experienced outfit as St. Galls. The players on Rangers bench would walk onto most county teams and this strength in depth is what, St Galls, and most other clubs just can’t contend with.