Crossmaglen close in on Armagh title
Crossmaglen Rangers 0-15 Maghery 1-09: Crossmaglen Rangers took a decisive step towards their 17th Armagh title in 18 years when they fended off a strong challenge from Maghery in last night's semi-final.
It looked as if it would be another straightforward day the office for Crossmaglen when they streaked into a 0-6 to 0 led with the Kernans Tony, Stephen & Aaron all on target along with Paul Hughes and and Kyle Brennan.
But when Maghery substitutes Jack Lavery and Eoin Scullion entered the action, the Rangers dominance came under severe threat.
Lavery provided a surge of momentum for the challengers when he whipped home a penalty and when this was complimented by a brace of points from Paul Forker and another from Stefan Forker, Maghery had attained parity of esteem at half time at 0-6 to 1-3.
And Maghery maintained their spirited revival after the break with points from Shay Tennyson and Paul Forker but Crossmaglen, with their half forward line now seeing much more of the ball, began to weave intricate patterns.
Stephen Kerann, Aaron Cunningham and Kyle Carragher were all on target as the champions found their rhythm.
They curbed the Maghery attacking machinery although Paul Forker was still a threat while Stephan Forker maintained his consistency from frees. Maghery made strong efforts in the last quarter to seize the initiative but Crossmaglen brought all their experience into play.
They won repeated possession in midfield and pushed Magahery back inside their own half, powering through time and time again.
Maghery, though, never gave up the fight and indeed came close on two occasions in the closing stages as they sought to pull the game out of the fire.
But Crossmaglen held firm much to the relief of their manager Joe Kernan.
"This was always going to be a difficult task for us. We were well prepared, but you have to hand it to Maghery. They pushed us hard in the second half and we are very grateful to have got over the line," he said.
Crossmaglen scorers: T Kernan 0-4, S Kernan 0-4, A Keernan 0-2, K Brennan 0-2, K Carragher 0-2, A Cunningham 0-1.
Maghery scorers: J laavery 1-0, S Forker 0–4, P Forker 0-3, C Campbell 0-1, S Tennyson 0-1