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Crossmaglen wary of lightning striking twice

By Staff Reporter

One county championship defeat in 20 years sounds like the ultimate flight of fantasy.

Nonetheless, the record books will testify that Crossmaglen Rangers boast a record that is unmatched by any other side in the country at senior level.

Yet when they go into their Armagh championship quarter-final against Pearse Og tomorrow at the Athletic Grounds (5.15pm) they will do so burdened by an unusual handicap - apprehension.

Let joint manager Oisin McConville explain.

"The fact of the matter is that Pearse Og are the only team to have inflicted a defeat on us in the Armagh championship since we started our great winning run in 1996," noted McConville.

"They caught us on the hop in the 2009 semi-final but we don't want to get caught with our trousers down again."

The Kernan brothers - Aaron, Stephen and Tony - along with Michael McNamee, James Morgan and Kyle Carragher form the backbone of a side to which the word 'defeat' is an alien concept while Conor Clarke, Sean Moore, Darnell Parkinson and Ross Clarke will ferment Ogs' resistance.

Tonight, Maghery will take on Granemore in a quarter-final tie that will see the Forker brothers, Stefan and Aidan, along with James Lavery bolster the side.

Granemore will look to Caolan Rafferty, Jason O'Neill, Tony McClelland and Christopher for inspiration.

Meanwhile, Monaghan skipper Conor McManus is hoping his Clontibret side can surmount the challenge of Ballybay today.

"I feel that if we can get over Ballybay we can go further. Winning a county title is still a significant achievement because it's a passport into the Ulster Club championship," said McManus.

Belfast Telegraph


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