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Maghery best team in north Armagh?

22 August 2007

RECENT trends are suggesting that Maghery have become the top club in north Armagh

from Lurgan Mail, 23 August 2007

For many decades Clan na Gael, barring the odd blip, have been seen as the forerunners in the area. But currently the Lough Shore outfit with the right draw could be contesting this season’s Senior Championship final.

Sitting comfortably in the top flight the Sean McDermotts have raised a few eyebrows firstly by beating Mullaghbawn before dumping Killeavey out of this year’s Gerry Fegan Cup competition.

Pearse Ogs and Maghery are already through to this season’s championship semis where they await the winners of the drawn quarter-finals between Crossmaglen and Dromintee and Portadown against Cruppin.

Playing with flair and commitment Maghery would be hoping to draw the winners of Sunday’s replay between Portadown and Carrickcruppin and even Pearse Ogs may have their work cut out to get past the Lough Shore club.

But according to Maghery’s joint manager Dixie Robinson its time for reflection. "Of course it would be great to get a semi-final draw against Tir na nOg or Cruppin but on the other hand both of those clubs would be delighted to get us," said the former Armagh player.

Boosted by the form of Armagh’s rising starts Stephan Forker and James Lavery, Maghery’s march thus far accommodates a nice blend of youth and experience.

Dixie said: "I’m sure that Eamon Toye is now in his thirties but he is in great form so no one is talking about retirement at the moment.. Having said that Stephen Cusack’s handling of Steven McDonnell last Sunday helped things greatly and Conor Mackle was brought back to police Mark Stanfield. Both are very dangerous forwards and could win any game on their day."

The Maghery co-manager continued: "Our goalkeeper Kieran Fox saved a penalty on Sunday which was a major help. Stephan (Forker) hit five points but he freely admits that he was disappointed in his performance so our boys can no doubt improve further."

Although Crossmaglen were held by Dromintee last Sunday the All-Ireland champions could come back off the ropes to claim victory in Saturday’s replay. Yet the last time the Rangers played Maghery in the championship they left with an admiration for the North Armagh teams midfielders.

Dixie Robinson explained: "Lavery and Joe Fox were outstanding that day and certainly won the midfield exchanges but I would like to think that our entire team has matured since that game. Paul Forker took a hard knock early in last Sunday’s match but had the courage to stay on the field. Keeping things in perspective however we will enjoy the win over Killeavey before getting down to the serious business of preparing for the semi-final."


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