St Gall's and Lamh Dhearg clash in Antrim SFC quarter-final
Northern Switchgear Antrim SFC quarter-finals
St Gall’s v Lamh Dhearg (Friday, Corrigan Park, 6.30pm)
Cargin v Aghagallon (Friday, Ahoghill, 7pm)
THE Northern Switchgear Antrim SFC has reached the quarter-final stages with two of those last eight games down for decision on Friday evening.
The action gets underway at Corrigan Park (6.45pm) where an intriguing west Belfast derby takes place between St Gall’s and Lamh Dhearg.
Both sides safely negotiated preliminary round ties, but Lamh Dhearg had things slightly easier when defeating St Paul’s by 10, while it took a CJ McGourty-inspired late rally to help St Gall’s come from three down to win by two against Portglenone.
The Milltown Row side are expected to have a full hand to pick from, but Lamh Dhearg are set to be missing Conor Murray once more with a hamstring injury, while Domhnall Nugent remains a doubt due to concussion sustained while playing for Antrim’s U21 hurlers against Derry in July.
This game could come down to whoever gets the match-ups right with Lamh Dhearg’s Declan Lynch likely to try to curtail the influence of Kevin Niblock, while at the other end St Gall’s will need to keep tabs on Ryan Murray and Paddy Cunningham.
These sides met in last year’s semi-final with St Gall’s just squeezing home by two and it is expected another close encounter will play out.
In Ahoghill (7.30pm), defending champions, Cargin will look to book their place in the last four when they take on Aghagallon.
John Brennan’s side had it all their own way in the preliminary round against Rossa with their greater know-how at this level shining through as they romped to a handsome win.
Again, they will be heavily favoured to advance despite the likely absence of the injured Kevin O’Boyle.
Cargin look to have options aplenty and had the luxury of giving Tony Scullion some game-time against Rossa.
They will likely employ their usual two-man inside forward line of Kieran Close and Michael Magill and while Aghagallon can plan for this tactic, stopping is quite a different issue.
The St Mary’s men look to be a rising force with an U21 crown added to the intermediate and division two titles at senior last year and in Ruairi McCann, Oisin Lenehan and Pat Branigan they have potential, but they will be missing Eunan Walsh who broke his ankle in their opening round win against St Teresa’s.
While Aghagallon were competitive against Cargin in the two league meetings between the teams this season, this is likely the best they can hope for again this evening as Erin’s Own are taken to keep their three-in-a-row aspirations on track.