On a weekend when Armagh champions Crossmaglen won their 10th Ulster Senior football title, An Port Mor became the first Armagh side to win the provincial title at Junior level when they saw off Tyrone champions Brackaville at Pairc Esler.
There was no hiding the joy of the winning manager Niall Gorman nor the An Port Mor supporters who despite the arctic conditions were in no hurry to leave the Newry venue at the end of an entertaining game.
Rivals across the county border, both sets of supporters brought an atmosphere to Pairc Esler which epitomises all that is best in the club championship.
First half goals from corner forwards Christopher Lennon and Shane Nugent saw the Armagh side — who had experienced former Tyrone player Collie Holmes on board — go in at the break leading 2-03 to 0-06 and any chance Brackaville had went with the dismissal of midfielder and team captain Cahir McGuinness at the end of the third quarter.
But the sending off was not an issue with manager Kieran Holland.
He said: “We were beaten by a better team. They took their chances, maybe they got the breaks but it has been a good season for us, we will regroup after Christmas and start all over again”.
An Port Mor manager Niall Gorman paid tribute to his players.
He said: “They’ve been underdogs all season, even in the Armagh Championship. We are playing the Connacht champions and are looking forward to that.”
An Port Mor: G Kelly, C McKenna, F Daly, N Traynor, G McNally, P Casey, B Nugent, C Holmes, M Curran, M Casey (0-01f), D Curran (0-02), M McCrory, C Lennon (1-0), G Trainor (0-03), S Nugent (1-02, 1f). Subs: J McBride for M Casey (55m), G Curran for F Daly (58m).Yellow cards: F Daly, G McCrilly, M Curran, S Nugent.
Brackaville: D O’Neill, D McGuinness, D Hughes, P O’Hagan, T Corey, C Gillis, P O’Neill (0-02), C McGuinness (0-01), R McHugh (0-01), S McNally, S Corr (0-01f), C Gervin, C O’Donnell (0-02, 1f), P Gervan (0-01), J Rafferty (0-03f). Subs: M Gervin for C Gillis (16m), C Currie for C Gervin (47m), G Ferguson for T Corey (44m), C McStravick for J Rafferty (54m). Red Card: C McGuinness (45m). Yellow card: C O’Donnell.
Referee: Ciarán Brannagan.