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Armagh SHC final: Middletown Na Fianna v Keady Lamh Dhearg

Discussion in 'Armagh Club & County Hurling' started by Centre Half, Sep 10, 2011.

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    Armagh SHC final: Middletown Na Fianna v Keady Lamh Dhearg
    Old rivals ready for battle

    By Joe McManus

    As has been the norm for practically the past 20 years, the two giants of Armagh hurling, Keady Lamh Dhearg and Middletown Na Fianna will contest this years’s senior final at Morgan Athletic Grounds tomorrow (3.45).

    Defending champions Keady, who reached the Ulster decider last year losing to Loughgiel, will start favourites but nothing is ever predictable involving these two fierce neighbouring rivals. A few years back, when Lamh Dhearg were going for five-in-a-row Middletown spoiled their party. And last year Na Fianna went in as champions but were deprived of their crown which they will be hellbent on defending.

    Both finalists make up the bulk of the Armagh county senior squad and each as a potent forward division so a high-scoring outcome is a distinct possibility.

    Hurling has been very much part of the Keady way of life for over a century. Middletown’s history is comparatively shorter. The legendary PJ O’Neill introduced the game to the primary schools in the 1950’s. It wasn’t until 1981 that Na Fianna collected their first senior championship, though they have been a force to be reckoned with ever since.

    Managed by former star Sylvester McConnell, they currently supply 11 players to the county panel.

    Keady hurling has been going from strength to strength over the past 25 years.

    Their second string will contest the curtain-raiser junior final against parish neighbours Derrynoose (2.00).

    In the semi-final, Middletown had a facile victory over Armagh Cuchulainn’s whilst Keady had a bye, as only three teams contest this year’s senior championship.

    In his first year as manager, Dunloy native Alastair McGilligan will hope to keep the Cardinal McRory Cup in Keady. That will depend largely on the vastly-experienced McCormack brothers, Paul and Barry, Joby Burke, Ger Enright, Paul and Barry Breen, James King, Philip Kirk and John and Conor Corvan to deliver once again.

    Middletown will have every confidence in their influx of new blood and will pin their hopes on the likes of Ryan and Paul Gaffney, Nathan Curry, Cathal McCarvill, Brian Mallon, Martin Maguire and Kieran McKernan, Martin Moen and JJ Hughes.

    A keenly contested battle is on offer with the champions very much aware that their opponents can deliver when perhaps least expected.

    The Irish News
    Saturday September 10 2011

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