Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Crossmaglen Rangers' Tony wants a treble like his brother

Crossmaglen Rangers skipper Tony Kernan is hoping to become the second member of his family to lead the side to a triple success in just three years.

It was in 2011 that his brother Stephen was at the helm of operations on the field of play when the Rangers won Armagh, Ulster and All Ireland club titles and now Tony is hoping that he can follow in his footsteps.

With the Armagh title safely retained, the focus has now switched to the forthcoming Ulster club championship quarter-final against newly-crowned Down champions Kilcoo, a match that has already triggered a fresh bout of football fever in Armagh and Down at a period in the year when the sport is all but dormant.

Pairc Esler in Newry will host the confrontation on Sunday week and even though he has aspirations of steering Rangers to further glory, Tony, a Belfast-based property consultant, is looking no further than the meeting with Jim McCorry's side.

"When you look at what Kilcoo have achieved in recent years, you get a measure of just how good they are," said Tony. "They will be very difficult to play against never mind beat."

He himself is currently occupying a new role at midfield alongside Johnny Hanratty in a Crossmaglen side that made a hesitant start to their county championship campaign before gathering momentum.

Now Tony, who was playing in the full-forward line until recently, is hoping the new-look team can rise to the bigger challenge of keeping their Ulster crown.

For younger players like Garvan Carragher, Kyle Brennan and Callum Cumiskey, the Ulster club championship will be a fresh challenge but the skipper believes they will meet the demands of the occasion against a Kilcoo outfit that in beating Burren in the Down decider fired out a further message as to their efficiency and power.

"The new boys who are now in our side have been showing a great attitude. They want to maintain our winning ways and they are really helping to keep the rest of us on our toes," said Tony.

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