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Crossmaglen win over Cargin is marred by biting allegation

Crossmaglen Rangers 2-15 Cargin 0-13

By John Campbell

The Ulster Council's Competitions Control Committee may decide to launch an investigation into a biting allegation made in the immediate aftermath of Crossmaglen's win over Cargin in the Ulster Club Championship quarter-final at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh yesterday.

Furious Cargin manager John Brennan was adamant that his midfielder Michael McCann was bitten in the neck by a Crossmaglen player during a melee on the ground in the second-half.

And he further alleged that another Cross player entered the fray and struck out.

"If you want confirmation of what happened go and ask Michael McCann," he said.

"I am not delivering this from on high, I'm delivering it from the player himself and from other players. The fact that another player entered the situation and struck out made it even worse."

When approached, McCann admitted that the biting incident had occurred.

"If that's the depth that some players must go to win a game so be it," said McCann, one of Cargin's most experienced players and a regular in the Antrim county side for several years.

He refused to name the alleged culprit but was clearly distressed by something that had happened.

Cross joint managers Oisin McConville and John McEntee were in unison in denying that any biting had taken place.

McEntee, who played alongside McConville in the 2002 All-Ireland winning Armagh side, suggested that the allegation "sounded ridiculous" while McConville took Brennan to task for making the claim.

"I would have thought that John would have been magnanimous in defeat and just taken it on the chin, there were a lot of incidents we could all talk about," stated McConville.

"It was a very clean game given the competitiveness of it."

When it came to closing out the game, the Armagh champions summoned all their craft and guile to construct an eight-point winning margin that for long spells appeared to have been outside their gambit.

The dismissal of Gerard McCann to a red card was a blow to Cargin, while goals by Johnny Murtagh and Johnny Hanratty in the 38th and 58th minutes respectively were crucial as Cross set up a semi-final against Kilcoo.

Crossmaglen Rangers: P Hearty; P Hughes, A Rushe, P McKeown; A Kernan 0-3(2f), M Aherne, J Morgan: J Hanratty 1-1, S Finnegan; M McNamee 0-2, S Kernan 0-2, T Kernan 0-3 (2f); J Murtagh 1-1, R Kelly, K Carragher. Subs: G Carragher for Finnegan (28), O O'Neill 0-3 for Murtagh (43), A Cunningham for Kelly (49), P Stuttard for McNamee (53, K Brennan for K Carragher (55). Yellow cards: Kelly, T Kernan, Morgan

Cargin: C O'Reilly; M Kane, J Laverty, C Close 0-3; T Scullion 0-1, J Crozier, K O'Boyle; M McCann 0-2, J Carron; P McCann, T McCann 0-2, E McGrogan; R McKernan, G McCann, M Magill 0-5(1f, 2 '45s'). Subs: M Kelly for McGrogan (41), B Laverty for P McCann (42), M Clarke for T McCann (55). Yellow cards: McKernan, Carron. Red Card: Gerard McCann

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)

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