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McConville hails Maghery's grit but sets sights on showdown

Crossmaglen Rangers 0-16 Maghery 2-13

By John Campbell

When Maghery won their first Armagh senior football championship title last year, manager Shane McConville predicted that it would prove a portent for more progress.

His prophecy is currently being fulfilled now that his side are through to a second successive decider and what's more could yet find themselves in pole position to remain on the orchard county throne.

It was in a riveting semi-final at the Athletic Grounds that Maghery dug deep into their well of character, courage and polished skills to ensure that the once mighty Rangers would endure another abortive season.

Yet while his team march defiantly on, McConville accepts that in meeting Armagh Harps in the final they will encounter an extremely formidable obstacle.

"We have won nothing yet," declares McConville flatly. "The fact is that we now face a massive challenge against Armagh Harps. At times against Cross we did not get the ball in quickly enough but then every game is different.

"But I still think this Maghery team has the talent to go out and play in a number of different ways."

Maghery enjoyed an unimagined bonus when they rocketed home a brace of goals in the opening minutes from Stephen Cusack and Ronan Lappin before being reined before half-time by which stage they led by 2-7 to 0-9.

And when Rangers pirated three points at the start of the second half, Maghery were looking distinctly edgy at 2-7 to 0-12.

But the Forkers, Aidan and Stefan, eased them further ahead with vital points before Rian O'Neill bagged his fifth point to keep the south Armagh side in touch.

Maghery, though, finished with a flourish, their counter-attacking skills underlining their considerable pace and cohesion.

Maghery scorers: S Cusack 1-2, R Lappin 1-1, A Forker 0-4 (2f), S Forker 0-3, P Forker, K Higgins, B Crealey 0-1 each.

Crossmaglen scorers: R O'Neill 0-5 (1f), O O'Neill, A Kernan 0-3 each, P Stuttard, S Kernan 0-2 each, P Hughes 0-1.

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