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Cian helping to keep McConville tradition alive

By John Campbell

It is a measure of the overall commitment which Crossmaglen Rangers have to football at all levels that a matter of minutes after his team's shattering loss to Gaoth Dobhair in the Ulster Club Senior Football Championship, manager Donal Murtagh was already turning his attention to matches at different levels.

"We have an Under-21 Championship match next week and we're in the Ulster Minor Tournament, so we will pick ourselves up as a club and move on," said Murtagh.

And sure enough the Rangers have moved on. There may be no Ulster Club glory this time round but there is nonetheless great optimism in relation to the future.

The Under-21 side advanced in their Championship, while the minor side overcame Derrygonnelly Harps by 1-12 to 1-6 in the provincial tournament hosted by the St Paul's club in Belfast and supported by Belfast City Council.

It was Cian McConville, one of the minor players that Murtagh has already blooded at senior level, who proved hugely influential in masterminding his side's progress.

Not surprisingly, his surname is a dead give-away as he is the son of former Rangers, Armagh and Ulster star Jim McConville and nephew of the legendary Oisin.

Like his family members who have distinguished themselves in the black and amber of the Rangers in the past, the feet of the youngest protégé to emerge from the family remain firmly rooted to the ground.

Cian said: "We maybe were not as good in the first half against Derrygonnelly as we wanted to be but I think we made up for it after the break. I think we can push on now and make further progress. I could hear my father shouting at me from the crowd and let's just say he keeps me on my toes.

"It was great to get the bit of experience with the senior team and hopefully our whole club will continue to prosper. People tell me that I have a lot to live up to because of what my dad and uncle achieved for Rangers.

"But I'll just have to make my own way, although I am encouraged by what we are achieving at under-age level. Even in this sector things tend to be very competitive."

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