Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Old pals all set to go head to head in Armagh football final

A decade ago Andy Mallon was a fascinated spectator as Oisin McConville rifled in the goal that proved crucial in sealing Armagh’s only All-Ireland title to date.

Twelve months later Mallon was at the heart of the Orchard County defence coping with the wiles of Stephen O’Neill and Peter Canavan as Tyrone captured the Sam Maguire Cup for the first time while McConville was doing his best at the other end to discommode the Red Hands’ defence.

Those occasions are videoed in Mallon’s memory bank but on Sunday the experienced Pearse Og defender will be doing his utmost to minimise the influence of McConville and defending champions Crossmaglen in the Armagh Senior Championship final.

And if there were prizes on offer for commitment alone, then Mallon would be worthy of recognition. Fourteen years have elapsed since he made his debut with the Armagh city club but his zest and enthusiasm are as much in evidence as ever even though he now has to log up hundreds of miles for training and matches.

Pearse Og chairman Gerry Davidson explains: “Andy moved to live in Dublin with his partner Jemma some six months ago and, while he works there as an electrician, his commitment to the Ogs has never wavered.”

Mallon has garnered a clutch of Ulster titles with Armagh as well as a National League gong and an All Star in 2006.

His anticipated duel with the long-serving McConville will be one of numerous sideshows in a county final extravaganza that is garnished with intrigue.

It was three years ago that Pearse Og beat Crossmaglen — then going for their 14th successive Armagh title — en route to winning the competition in which they beat their deadly city rivals Harps in the decider.

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