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Crossmaglen aim to get off to a flyer in London

By John Campbell

Crossmaglen Rangers joint bosses Tony McEntee and Gareth O’Neill have urged their team to make a strong start in tomorrow’s All Ireland Club football quarter-final against Neasdon Gaels in Ruislip, London.

Both were less than impressed with their team’s first-half effort in the Ulster Club semi-final against Burren and endured anxiety when Tony Kernan was sent off in the provincial decider against Naomh Conaill before Oisin McConville scored the defining goal of the game.

McEntee makes it clear that Rangers need a convincing display tomorrow if they are to be treated as serious candidates for the All Ireland Club title. “We were none too convincing against Burren in particular and we need to hit the ground running.

“There are several very good sides still left in the field for the All Ireland title and unless we can show our best form we won’t put fear into anyone,” states McEntee.

His brother John is ready to be deployed as an impact substitute again as is Francie Bellew while Aaron Cunningham may face a fitness test to see if he has recovered from the foot injury that has been troubling him lately.

Neasdon Gaels play a tough, uncompromising brand of football and the compact Ruislip pitch is likely to suit their particular style.

But Tony McEntee suggests that Crossmaglen have sufficient experience to cope with any challenges that might be presented to them.

“We have been round enough corners to meet this. It’s important that we get off to a good start and maintain our momentum. We would expect to be at near enough full strength and that should help us,” adds McEntee.

Several hundred Crossmaglen fans are making the trip to London while a number of Armagh exiles in Britain will also attend.

“We should enjoy quite a bit of support but the players must be able to respond to this,” says McEntee.

David McKenna and Franny Hanratty are likely to be in midfield while Jamie Clarke and Oisin McConville will form a twin strike force that could wreak havoc should they be provided with sufficient possession.

Crossmaglen PRO Tom McKay insists that the team is looking no further than tomorrow’s game.

“There is a lot of talk as to where the All Ireland Club title might end up but I can assure you this match is our sole focus. We are hoping to get a big performance from the lads and then we will see where that will take us,” he says.

Belfast Telegraph


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