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Oisin McConville still hitting high notes for Crossmaglen

The older the fiddle, the sweeter the tune. And no one perhaps epitomises this more than the peerless Oisin McConville.

When Crossmaglen Rangers extinguished the fiery challenge of Pearse Og in last month’s Armagh Championship semi-final, the intrepid 35-year-old emerged as their top scorer with 0-7.

But then the willowy corner forward has been doing this for more years than he might care to remember.

On his own admission, |McConville does not do statistics.

But five All-Ireland Club medals, eight Ulster Club championship accolades and 13 Armagh gongs provide glowing testimony to a glorious career — and then there is the little matter of an All- Ireland medal as well as Ulster Championship and National League honours won with the Orchard County.

Such a glistening CV might be regarded as an understandable reason for putting the feet up, donning a smoking jacket and slippers and taking things a lot more easy.

But in the case of McConville, it merely fuels a desire to remain in sport’s fast lane.

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And that does not bode well for Ballymacnab who the Rangers will meet in Sunday’s Armagh final at the Morgan Athletic Grounds (4pm).

It goes without saying that McConville and his 22-year-old shooting partner Jamie Clarke — a player whose credentials were initially flagged up by McConville himself — represent a huge threat to Ballymacnab’s hopes of scripting what would be a truly memorable chapter in their history.

“I am enjoying my club football and we are very keen to retain our Armagh, Ulster and All-Ireland titles,” observes McConville in typical laid-back fashion.

“The new guys in the Rangers side have blended in well and we can get even better, I believe.”

Ballymacnab, despite having their own extremely capable twin strike force in Gavin McParland and Rory Grugan, will know full well that this is a stark warning rather than a mere expression of hope.

Rangers joint bosses Tony McEntee and Gareth O’Neill may have had to digest some rather indifferent performances this term but it’s at this time of the season that their team invariably blossoms.

Paul Hearty, Aaron Kernan, Paul McKeown, Stephen Kernan and Johnny Hanratty provide experience, leadership and drive in a Rangers line-up for whom the word defeat is anathema.

Ballymacnab, for all their justifiable ambition and inherent skills, are likely to discover this to their cost with the message perhaps rammed home most forcibly by Crossmaglen hot-shot McConville.

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