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O'Neill brothers to the fore as Rangers set sights on title


Key role: Oisin O’Neill will be at midfield for Crossmaglen
Key role: Oisin O’Neill will be at midfield for Crossmaglen
John Campbell

By John Campbell

Two brothers who hope to follow in their father's footsteps are hoping to claim another helping of glory in the Armagh senior football championship final on Sunday.

Oisin and Rian O'Neill will lineout for Crossmaglen Rangers against Ballymacnab determined to end what, by Rangers standards, is viewed as a mini-famine in terms of trophy success.

Having dominated the Orchard county championship stage for two decades, Rangers were suddenly halted in their stride in 2016 when Maghery Sean MacDermotts took delivery of the title. Then last year it was the turn of Armagh Harps to end a 29-year wait for the silverware.

But right now, Crossmaglen have serious designs on recapturing the trophy as a possible precursor to another sustained period in the limelight.

The O'Neill brothers are sons of former Rangers, Louth and Armagh player Gareth O'Neill.

Boss Donal Murtagh is expected to deploy Oisin at midfield and Rian in his half-forward line against a Ballymacnab side seeking their first title having already won the All-County League for the first time earlier this year.

Oisin won a minor championship medal in 2015 and was immediately drafted into the Rangers senior panel, with whom he won Armagh and Ulster club championship medals in 2015.

Two years ago he won a Sigerson Cup medal with St Mary's University College, and on Sunday he will form the Rangers midfield with Stephen Morris.

Ballymacnab are under the baton of former Monaghan ace Bernie Murray, who has helped to transform the fortunes of the club but who believes that winning the championship title would be a major coup.

"The players are very committed and keen to get their hands on the county title," explained Murray.

"Obviously, Rangers will be a big barrier in the final but this is the kind of challenge that you have to face when you are chasing honours.

"While it was encouraging to win the league title this year, to win the championship would be something else altogether."

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