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Monday 11 December 2017

West' men to trouble Cross': O'Brien

ELEVEN months ago, St Brigid's lost an All-Ireland they could conceivably have won against Crossmaglen. Now the same gargantuan challenge awaits their neighbours from across the Shannon.

"We'll pick their brains a bit, no doubt about that," said Garrycastle boss Anthony Cunningham after watching his side squeeze past the Roscommon standard-bearers, setting up a March 17 showdown with the defending champions.

Cunningham lives in the Brigid's catchment area, has previously managed the team against Crossmaglen (in a 2007 All-Ireland semi-final) and praised his former club for their immediate post-match offer of help.

Typically, Garrycastle weren't shy in their praise of Crossmaglen - "the gold standard of club football," waxed Dessie Dolan, while Cunningham hailed them as the "best club team that we have seen, probably ever".

However, Brigid's boss Noel O'Brien reckons his semi-final conquerors have a "right good chance" against the Armagh kingpins.

"You cannot beat hunger and drive and commitment. Their passion was brilliant. They tackled hard and they tackled fair, knocked us off our stride," O'Brien reflected. "Going into an All-Ireland final, coming up against the likes of Crossmaglen Rangers, you've got to be streetwise for those guys," he added.

"I think Garrycastle can handle Crossmaglen because they have that physicality as well, and a lot of very, very good footballers.

"We looked at the video of that game last year; we felt we could have sneaked it in the end. So if they go in not fearing those guys, go in thinking they are every bloody bit as good as Crossmaglen, they won't be far off in the final."

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