'In the second half we had to grind out a result'
Sometimes Crossmaglen record crushing victories but the struggle against adversity has been a more characteristic feature of their great days. Yesterday, having apparently put the match to bed with a blistering opening five minutes, the All-Ireland champions appeared slowly to let the odds stack up against them before their 10th Ulster title was won.
Two men sent off, two other important players injured and outsiders Kilcoo transformed in the second half and breathing down their necks in the final quarter – no wonder manager Tony McEntee was a relieved man in the aftermath.
“For the players who have 10 it’s great; for Paul Hearty and Oisín it’s great. For the rest of us we are delighted because in the first half we played lovely football. In the second half we had to grind out a result at the end.”
Asked about the sendings-off he was critical of the treatment one of his players received but said he hadn’t seen Michael McNamee’s striking offence.
“Jamie Clarke’s dismissal was after 55 minutes of abuse – up there physical abuse – and why Jamie didn’t get a free is beyond me. His yellow card on the sideline when he had four men on top of him and he was pulled out and got a yellow card was beyond me.
“I question that. The other red card was striking off the ball was it? I didn’t see it but if that was the case he deserved it.”
His counterpart Jim McCorry took some solace in his side’s resolute recovery.
“I think the guys all emptied their tanks out there and all supported each other well. I think we were a wee bit flat in the first 10 minutes in terms of support on the ball and moving it very quickly. I’d say we turned over a lot of ball. Overall though we didn’t lose 15 battles out there. I think a lot of players out there can hold their head up high.
“There are those who their battles from start to finish and those who improved in the second half and won their battles. But against Crossmaglen you’ve got to win 10 battles over the two halves.”