Crossmaglen return to the seat of power in Armagh

Ballymacnab led at half time but Rian O’Neill and co took over in the second period

Rian O’Neill, in action for the Armagh minors in 2016, impressed for Crossmaglen Rangers on Sunday. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Rian O’Neill, in action for the Armagh minors in 2016, impressed for Crossmaglen Rangers on Sunday. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

Crossmaglen Rangers 0-24 Ballymacnab 1-15

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and this probably explains why ecstatic scenes greeted Crossmaglen’s return to the seat of power in Armagh on Sunday.

In the end, the Rangers imperiously swatted aside the challenge of Ballymacnab but only after they endured a first-half fright which saw them trail by 1-11 to 0-11 at the break.

But it was a different story in the second-half. The Rangers authority only really manifested itself when they took the lead for the first time in the 48th minute at 1-14 to 0-16 but from then on they were the complete masters.

Ballymacnab’s penchant for delivering quick, accurate possession into Gavin McParland and Jack Grugan in particular was to reap a rich harvest and by half-time the latter had accumulated 1-5.

But it was in the second-half that Crossmaglen Rangers imposed their dominance in stunning style. With man of the match Rian O’Neill in imperious form, Johnny Hanratty imposing up front and Aaron Kernan majestic in linking play, the winners powered forward relentlessly.

Impressive substitute Cian McConville hit a couple of great points, Johnny Mc Keever and Paul Hughes were also on target while fittingly it was Rian O’Neill who closed out the scoring.

Crossmaglen Rangers: J McEvoy; R Kelly, A Farrelly, G Carragher, A Kernan (0-3), J Morgan, P Hughes (0-1); S Morris, O O’Neill (0-2); J McKeever (0-3), R O’Neill (0-5, 0-2 frees), P Stuttard (0-1); M McNamee, J Hanratty (0-4), K Carragher (0-3). Subs: C McConville (0-2) for McNamee (39 mins), C Cumiskey for G Carragher (45 mins), A Rushe for Stuttard (59 mins), D McKenna for Hanratty (60 mins).

Ballymacnab: S Hughes; C Connolly, R Kennedy, R Gribben; M Beagen, P Crilly, J Gray; P Gribben, P Meegan; K Hughes (0-4), O McGivern (0-1), R Watters; R Grugan (0-2), J Grugan (1-6), G McParland (0-2, 0-1 ‘45’). Subs: B Toner for Watters (48 mins), B McCone for C Hughes (49 mins), C McGivern for S Hughes (51 mins), C Loughran for McGivern (55 mins).

Referee: Oliver Hearty (Belleek)

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