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Danny eyes All-Ireland glory for Crossmaglen Rangers after ban is overturned

By John Campbell

When Danny O’Callaghan was shown a red card during Crossmaglen Rangers’ victory over Kilmacud Crokes in the AIB All-Ireland Club football semi-final last month, he thought he had said goodbye to his chances of appearing in tomorrow’s final against St Brigid’s (Roscommon).



But Rangers officials were quick to act on behalf of the club’s 21-year-old centre-half-back and his one-month ban was rescinded following an appeal to the Croke Park authorities.

The upshot is that O’Callaghan will be the most relieved player to take the field at Croke Park tomorrow for what will be his All-Ireland club final baptism.

“To be honest, I thought I was harshly done by when I was shown the red card. The referee had already sent off two Kilmacud players at that stage and I think he maybe wanted to try and even things up a bit. But I was over the moon when I heard the outcome of my appeal,” said O’Callaghan.

One of several young guns who have made a big impact in the Rangers line-up this year, he is keen to add an All-Ireland medal to the Armagh and Ulster championship medals he has already won over the course of the past seven months.

“For me it’s a dream come true to be playing in a major final at Croke Park.

“I would have been heartbroken had I been forced to miss this game. I would love to help Rangers win another All-Ireland Club title,” added the durable defender who is proving a worthy successor to folk hero Francie Bellew in the No 6 shirt.

Yet at the start of the season performing at Croke Park could not have been further from |his mind.

“I was only interested then in trying to become a regular in the side. We had set our sights on winning the Armagh championship and we looked at anything that came after that as being in the nature of a bonus. But then when we won the Ulster title, we started to focus on the All-Ireland crown and now here we are in the final,” smiled O’Callaghan.

It was the resilience and courage of the Rangers rearguard that ultimately proved crucial in overcoming Kilmacud and the sharp-tackling O’Callaghan believes that St Brigid’s will present his team with an equally formidable challenge.

“We will just go out and try and play football at Croke Park. For me, it will be an unbelievable experience to be involved in a game like this,” added O’Callaghan.by john campbell

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