Whitecross earn reprieve ahead of final against Clann Eireann

Christopher Canning of Whitecross and Conor Bell of Clann Eireann, whose clubs will compete for the Atty Hearty Cup in the TMet Armagh IFC Final tomorrow in the Athletic Grounds.

WHITECROSS have received a significant boost ahead of Sunday’s intermediate final against Clann Eireann (Athletic Grounds, 4pm).

Six players – Barry Shields, Liam Smith, Kieran McNulty, Michael Malone, Cathal McParland and Francis Gorman – looked set to miss out due to suspensions picked up after unruly scenes at the end of the game marred their semi-final win over Grange.

However, the sextet had their proposed one-match bans overturned and are available to manager Noel Marron.

They are not the youngest team about, and this could be the last chance of silverware for a few of their players. Despite being underdogs, the McSherry brothers, Neil Cathal and Ryan, Collie O’Hanlon and Mark Shields ensure they have a chance of a first intermediate title since 2007.

Clann Eireann have already secured promotion through the league, and a win here would mean that Grange, rather than Whitecross, will accompany the Lurgan side and Madden up to the top tier.

Full-back Shea Heffron is one of the most promising defenders in the county while cousins Conor Bell and Ryan Henderson carry the threat up front. They have plenty of firepower, and that should prove the difference.

While they are battling it out in Armagh, Loughinisland and An Riocht will be fighting for the Down intermediate crown (Pairc Esler, 4pm).

Jerome Johnston’s Loughinisland side have looked very strong throughout the competition, and the way they eased past 14-man Ballymartin in the semi-final should be a worry for An Riocht.

Dan Gordon is having a magnificent season for the side while Rory Mason, from that famous Loughinisland family, has been posting some magnificent tallies from frees.

Ross Carr’s An Riocht side deserves plenty of respect though. Team captain Brendan McVeigh is a big presence in goal while Declan Doyle provides plenty of scores from the middle. It’s Martin Clarke who the neutrals will be most interested in though. He was sublime in the quarter-final win over St John’s, and he could be the match-winner at Pairc Esler.


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