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Done it again: Crossmaglen after yesterday’s Armagh title triumphas

Done it again: Crossmaglen after yesterday’s Armagh title triumphas

©INPHO/Presseye/Andrew Paton

Done it again: Crossmaglen after yesterday’s Armagh title triumphas

It surely gets no easier than this. Crossmaglen Rangers collected their 18th Armagh senior football championship title in the last 19 years without ever quite engaging first-gear at the Athletic Grounds yesterday.

Harps, submerged in a relentless tsunami of attacking flair, simply had no answer to the pace, power and precision of their well-drilled opponents.

But while understandably satisfied with his team's performance, Rangers joint boss Oisin McConville lost no time in underlining that bigger challenges lie ahead.

"We are going in against St Enda's Omagh in the Ulster club championship and that will be a major test for us. We got into our stride early on this occasion and sustained our momentum to the end although to be fair Harps got few if any breaks," said McConville.

By half-time the notion of an upset had already been consigned to the dustbin.

Crossmaglen Rangers, even without the imposing presence of Jamie Clarke for almost 20 minutes after he had sustained a facial injury, had by then firmly stamped their imprint on the contest.

And it was Clarke, despite his limited spell, who inflicted most damage on Harps' morale.

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In the fourth minute he swept onto an inviting Tony Kernan pass before drilling the ball past Paddy Morrison in the Harps goal. And when he returned to the fray just prior to the interval following protracted medical attention for his injury, he applied a subtle finish touch to Aaron Kernan's subtle pass to thrust the champions into a 2-5 to 0-1 lead.

Harps, restricted to occasional forays, were held scoreless from play in the first-half, their only point coming from an Ultan Lennon free.

In contrast, Rangers attacked at will, carving huge holes in the Harps rearguard and when Aaron Kernan pointed two frees immediately prior to the break he merely accentuated the almost embarrassing dominance of his fired-up side.

And the onslaught continued after the break. Crossmaglen allowed their opponents the luxury of snapping up three quickfire points on the resumption but when Kyle Carragher slammed in a fine 48th minute goal and substitute David McKenna pocketed a fourth in the 55th minute, Harps were left sagging on the ropes.

Recently-retired Armagh star Aaron Kernan deservedly picked up the man of the match award, Clarke finished top scorer with 2-1, an array of substitutes underlined their worth and the team's tenacious marking was maintained right to the final whistle.

And this surely suggests that the Rangers could yet have more than one trophy to show for their endeavours this year.

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