Conor McManus to the fore as Clontibret edge Crossmaglen
Crossmaglen Rangers refused to throw in the towel but Monaghan champions progress
Clontibret’s Conor McManus celebrates at the final whistle. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
A spectacular six-point salvo from Conor McManus coupled with a liberal helping of resolve and tenacity took Clontibret into the Ulster club senior football championship semi-finals at the expense of Crossmaglen Rangers.
The Monaghan champions bossed the first-half for the most part and led by 0-7 to 0-3 at the break with McManus by that stage having posted three points while Rian O’Neill sparked Rangers’ response.
And when his brother Oisin and Tony Kernan whipped over points immediately on the resumption, a Rangers takeover bid looked imminent.
But Clontibret dug deep into their reservoir of courage and character to stay afloat, McManus piloting over two frees in the 47th and 53th minutes that were ultimately to prove crucial.
Crossmaglen refused to throw in the towel, but late points from the O’Neill brothers Oisin and Rian and Cian McConville were not sufficient to deny Clontibret one of their most satisfying wins in the provincial competition for some considerable time.
Crossmaglen Rangers: T McConville; P Hughes, R Kelly, P McKeown; A Kernan 0-1 (0-1 free), C Cumiskey, C Crowley; S Morris, A Farrelly; J Hanratty, O O’Neill 0-2, C O’Connor; C McConville 0-1, R O’Neill 0-3 (0-2 free), K Carragher 0-1. Subs: T Kernan 0-1 for Hanratty and P Stuttard for McKeown (H/T), M Boyce for Farrelly (43 mins), J McKeever for O’Connor (50’).
Clontibret: D McDonnell; C Doyle, C Boyle, L Savage; J Gormley, D Mone, C Greenan; F Hughes, K Lavelle; D Savage, M P O’Dowd 0-2, B Greenan; P Boyle 0-2, V Corey, C McManus 0-6 (0-5 frees). Subs: D Hughes for Boyle (48 mins), K Greenan for Hughes (60’), E McGuigan for Savage (62’).
Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)