Armagh SFC Quarterfinals: Crossmaglen Rangers 1-15 Dromintee St Patrick’s 1-5 (aet)
YOU won it once, now go win it again – that famous message from the 1966 World Cup final might have been repeated to Crossmaglen, who were forced into extra time but then comfortably dealt with neighbors Dromintee.
Rangers appeared to have shrugged off the loss of Caolan Finnegan to a straight red card after just fifteen minutes with a dominant second-half display to edge the Blue and Whites 5-0 to a point – until injury time.
Then Dromintee scored twice to force extra time but Cross’ almost completely defeated that to edge the winners by 10 points, the win being sealed by a goal just before substitute Daniel Cumiskey’s end.
Crossmaglen is in the last four for the 13th year in a row, meeting Maghery, their conqueror, in the 2020 final, while Granemore meets Killleavy in the other semi-final.
Cross manager Stephen Kernan was delighted with the way his 14 men reacted in regulation time and then at their full strength in extra time when midfielder Ronan Fitzpatrick returned to the fight but in attack after acknowledging they were initially had problems:
“We didn’t start well, didn’t get into our groove, didn’t play the way we wanted to play – and then going down to 14 men didn’t help us – when you only have five forwards against seven defenders, that suffocated us .”
However, noting his players consistently won 100 per cent of their kickouts, and some from dromintees too, he commented: “I’d be over the moon about that – the lads stuck to plan, and even with an extra man over 40 minutes we had 26 shots and they had 14.”
Cross’ was able to field Jamie Clarke at full-back and Aidan Rushe at full-back in place of Alan Farrelly, while Dromintee also used Peter Campbell to anchor their defense.
St Patrick’s started very physically but Cross’ is used to that approach and dominated possession early on. Still, it took them almost 10 minutes to open their account through Ronan Fitzpatrick, although Cian McConville doubled their lead three minutes later.
However, the Rangers then suffered three hits in just over three minutes. First came the red card for Finnegan – scorer of a great late goal to see Silverbridge in the first round, who was sent off midway through the first half after an incident without the ball.
Then defender James Morgan was substituted after suffering a blow to the head – and to top it all off, Shea McArdle sent a sweet kick pass into Cross’s square and tall full-forward Cathal McKenna rose above goalkeeper Miceal Murray to take the touching ball in the net.
Crossmaglen tried to hit back, but McConville hit Aaron McKay with a shot in the face and Paul Hughes’ follow-up was blocked.
Instead it was Dromintée, who scored the next through midfielder Darren McKenna to lead 1-1, 0-2 at the break and dreamed of a first championship win in the seniors against their South Armagh neighbors.
But Cross’ took charge in the second half and soon equalized for the first time of the game after Rian O’Neill scored a free point and a distance point.
Dromintee regained the lead through a nice result from Jack McArdle, but Rangers were soon united and led through cousins McConville and O’Neill in the next minute.
Clarke’s first point appeared to seal Cross’ semi-final spot, but failing to earn a penalty for a clear move as the hour mark neared kept Dromintee’s hopes alive.
They made the most of them, with Sub Oran Loughran converting a free-kick and McArdle completing a quick counterattack to force 20 more minutes.
Dromintee’s injury list meant they had to bring both Darren McKenna and Conor Martin back into play in overtime, while Cross was back up to 15 and Fitzpatrick came back in attack – and he scored an instant point.
It was almost a one-way affair after that, with Crossmaglen running repeatedly for the dromintee goals and Seanie McConville probably should have netted rather than overshoot. Despite this, they doubled their normal time record in the first overtime, leading 0:14 to 1:5.
After Campbell was black for bringing down Rian O’Neill, Cian McConville converted the free and then Cross swept through to set up a goal for young Cumiskey.
Crossmaglen: M. Murray; T O’Callaghan, A Rushe, T Duffy; A Kernan, J Morgan, P Hughes; S Morris (captain) (0-2, 0-1 clear), R Fitzpatrick (0-2); O’Callaghan D, Cumiskey C, Finnegan C; C McConville (0-3, 0-1 clear), J Clarke (0-2), R O’Neill (0-4, 0-2 clear, 0-1 ’45’).
Substitutes: C Crowley (0-1) for Morgan (17, inj.); D Cumiskey (1-1) for O’Callaghan (35);
O McKeown for Hughes (14, ff); O Kiernan for Clarke (16, et).
Red card: Finnegan (16).
Dromintee: P McEvoy; R Quinn (Captain), P Campbell, P Martin; S McArdle, A McKay, R Gaskin; D McKenna (0-1), G Kilgallon; C O’Neill, A Boyle, R Hughes (0-1); Martin C, McKenna C (1-0), McArdle J (0-2).
Substitutes: O Loughran (0-1 clear) for C Martin (45); A Markey for D. McKenna (61)
D McKenna for S McArdle (2, et, inj.); C Martin for O’Neill (8, ff); S McGenity for Quinn (14, ff);
Yellow cards: Boyle (28); O’Neill (28); Campbell (42); Gaschin (49).
Black card: Campbell (11, et).
Referee: Tony O’Hare (Pearse Og).