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Pairc Esler is just one of the venues for a busy weekend of club football.
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Tonight (Friday) in Armagh’s senior club championship it’s the derby between Granemore and Ballymacnab, while St Peter’s will be aiming to put their league woes behind them when they face Pearse Og, both games are at 7.30pm.

In the Down senior championship, last year’s finalists Carryduff take on the 2020 Intermediate winners Saul in the start of the knockout round, but it is tomorrow and Sunday when the thick of the action gets underway.

In Down, Ciaran McKeever’s Mayobridge will be looking to take the positives from their defeat against Kilcoo into Saturday’s clash against Loughinisland. The sides met last year, with the Sky Blues needing extra-time to get over the line. They’ll need Cory Quinn, Caolan Gallagher and young Adam Crimmins firing on all cylinders and another big performance from Conleth O’Hare if they are to overcome the Blues. They play in Castlewellan on Saturday at 3pm.

This is followed by Benny Coulter’s Longstone going up against Downpatrick in Dundrum at 5pm. The Stone pulled off the shock of the opening round when they beat Warrenpoint despite not scoring in the second half. A Caolan Mooney inspired Downpatrick will be confident of progressing and this should be a tight contest.

And Saturday’s Down senior championship concludes when Rostrevor, who are managed by Pete McGrath, take on Danny Hughes’ Castlewellan The Reds have been boosted by the news of their new pitch getting planning approval and they’ll need to carry all that positivity into tomorrow night’s game in Ballymartin.

On Sunday, at 3pm, it’s the clash of the big hitters in Pairc Esler as title holders Kilcoo take on neighbours Clonduff. It’s not a game either side will want to lose even though they have the safety net of a back door. The Yellas can be very good when they click, managed by former Tyrone player Ciaran McBride, he’ll hope to get the best out of Aidan and Ross Carr, the O’Hagan brothers Barry and Darren and the McConville duo Arthur and Stephen. Kilcoo know what it takes to win silverware and with Jerome Johnston in goal-scoring form they’ll take some stopping.

At 5pm, Ballyholland play at their second home, St Patrick’s Park Newcastle, where they on Danny Hughes’ Castlewellan. Tiarnan Rushe and Billy Campbell grabbed the important goals for the Harps last weekend and manager Damien McCrink is aiming to get the club to their third quarter-finals in as many years.

On Sunday night, back in Pairc Esler it’s another knockout game where Warrenpoint will be aiming to bounce back when they face Bryansford. The Ford can be dangerous with Conor Maginn and Danny Savage in form, but Warrenpoint should be able to deliver a performance to see them through.

In Armagh on Saturday, Killeavy get proceedings underway again against Annaghmore in Ballymacnab at 3pm. The south Armagh side are strong favourites to win this one especially with Ciaron O’Hanlon and James Donnelly playing well. It’s followed by the double-header a few miles up the road in the Athletic Grounds when Crossmaglen take on championship specialists Madden. That game throws in at 5pm and Stephen Kernan’s Cross isn’t expected to get it all their own way, but with Rian and a fit again Oisin O’Neill leading the charge they should avoid an upset.

That’s followed in the Orchard headquarters with holders Maghery playing title challengers Harps at 7pm. This is one the neutrals are looking forward to and it should be tight, but Aidan Forker’s influence should get the north Armagh men over the line.

On Sunday there’s a double header in Crossmaglen but before that Clann Eireann and Grange go head-to-head at 1pm in Abbey Park, with the Lurgan side strong favourites.

But back in Crossmaglen it’s two south Armagh derbies, where league winners Dromintee play Silverbridge. The Droms may be favourites, but Silverbridge backed by players such as Pete Carragher, Jarly Og Burns and Sean Rock will ensure a tight battle. That games starts at 3.30pm and is followed at 5.30pm when St Pat’s Cullyhanna take on Peter McDonnell’s Mullaghbawn. This is a game that could go either way.

Back in Down’s Pairc Esler on Monday night, at 7.15pm, anything other than a Burren victory against Glenn will be a surprise and Jim McCorry’s men will be confident of booking their place in the quarter-finals. Although Glenn might have something to say about that.

 

 

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