The IRA is being blamed for an arson attack on a house being built by an All-Ireland football club star.
The house at Monog Road outside Crossmaglen, being built by GAA player Danny O’Callaghan, was gutted.
Six fire appliances from south Down and Armagh attended when fire broke out at around 2.30am on Sunday.
It is the second house to be attacked in a similar fashion in the past two months. The official cause of the fire will not be known until forensic examination by the PSNI and the Fire Service.
However, two ground floor windows were smashed and it is believed arsonists poured flammable liquid in, starting the fire. The second broken window would have provided a draught.
Local people said the house was close to completion. There was deep anger in the area yesterday over what was described locally as a “dirty Provo job”. Mr O’Callaghan’s father, also Danny, was attacked by the local Provisional IRA 13 years ago.
Mr O’Callaghan senior, who also lives on Monog Road near his son’s house, said the family did not wish to comment.
Local people blamed the “offspring” of local Provisional IRA bosses who control the massively lucrative diesel and cigarette smuggling trade.
Sources said members of the same gang which beat 21-year-old Paul Quinn, from Cullyhanna, to death in October 2007 were responsible for the attack on Danny O’Callaghan’s home.
The O’Callaghans are highly respected in the area and have no connection with any illegal or illicit activity.
Locals say there is bitter resentment towards them from local Provisional republicans.
Local people said Danny jnr lived for two years in Australia but returned and took up playing with Crossmaglen Rangers. He has three All-Ireland club medals.