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That perfect blend can help McConville make history

By John Campbell

Published 15/10/2016

Old hand: James Lavery’s experience can bolster Maghery’s title bid
Old hand: James Lavery’s experience can bolster Maghery’s title bid

Maghery Sean McDermotts manager Shane McConville will rely on a fusion of youth and experience to take his side to what would be their first Armagh Senior Football Championship title when they meet St Patrick's, Cullyhanna in tomorrow's final at the Athletic Grounds (4pm).

The seasoned James Lavery and teenager Ben Crealey will form what is proving an increasingly potent midfield partnership while up front long-serving foot soldier Aidan Forker will link up with the emerging Conor Mackle in the pursuit of scores.

McConville's faith in his old guard and relatively new recruits is unshakeable yet he acknowledges that Maghery face "a massive challenge" against a St Patrick's side that roared into the limelight by terminating Crossmaglen Rangers' protracted dominance within the Orchard County at the semi-final stage.

"I am fortunate that I have versatile players at my disposal, people like Aidan Forker who can play almost anywhere, but the St Patrick's game is going to be a massive challenge for everyone," insisted McConville.

"When you look at St Patrick's, you see people like Malachy Mackin and others who have been putting their shoulder to the wheel for years now and, like ourselves, they will be desperately keen to get their hands on the title."

Aidan Nugent, for one, certainly has a lot to live up to tomorrow when he lines up in the St Patrick's attack after potting 10 points from frees and play in the match that sent Crossmaglen tumbling to just their second Championship defeat in 21 years.

Nugent's sublime finishing coupled with the efforts of Sean Connell, Gary McCooey, Malachy Mackin, Stephen Hoey and Pearse Casey in particular saw St Patrick's thrust themselves forcibly into the frame for their first title.

Manager Mick O'Dowd has ensured that his players' feet have remained firmly on the ground since their epic semi-final win.

"We have won nothing yet. Maghery will be very hungry just like ourselves, they have good players in there and will have taken heart from their Championship run to date," observed O'Dowd.

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