London calling Crossmaglen faithful
Crossmaglen Rangers expect to take sizeable support to London for their All Ireland Club football quarter-final against Neasdon Gaels on January 16.
The quarter-final was originally fixed for early January but with the Rangers v Naomh Conaill Ulster club decider having been postponed twice before it was eventually staged, the London assignment for the winners was put on hold.
But now Crossmaglen fans are set to respond more enthusiastically to the match against the British champions.
“To tell you the truth, had the Ulster final been played on the day for which it was originally fixed and had we won, this would have meant a trip to London in December,” says club spokesman Tom McKay.
“I don’t really think our players and fans would have relished that because of the pre-Christmas hype and other distractions.”
But now, he maintains, Rangers are fired up for the challenge of making it into the All Ireland semi-final — and they won’t be lacking vocal support in their endeavours.
“Three years ago we played Tir Conaill Gaels in the All Ireland quarter-final in London and I reckon we had somewhere between 500 and 700 fans with us.
“We would like to think that this will be possible on Sunday fortnight but obviously the recession could have an impact here.
“Nonetheless many of our followers are committed to travelling and besides there is a big south Armagh community in England.
“We are assured that many of them will be in London for the match,” explains McKay.
On the occasion of their visit three years ago, Rangers players and officials enjoyed a memorable night at the famous Galtymore Ballroom in Cricklewood which has since closed down.
This time round the Crown Moran in Cricklewood and The Chiswick Moran will be the nerve-centres of off-field action.
“The team will travel on the Saturday and we are delighted that Stephen Kernan and Oisin McConville are both available even though their weddings are pending. This is a great lift for the club — we have been fortunate in that we have been able to field a fairly settled team and this has stood to us,” states McKay.