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Ulster Club Championship: Crossmaglen end St Gall’s reign

By Micheal McGeary

Crossmaglen Rangers 1-12 St Gall’s 0-9: All Ireland club champions St Gall’s simply had no answer to a stunning scoring spree from the irrepressible Oisin McConville as they crashed out of the provincial football championship yesterday.

McConville made light of the passing years in scoring a goal and six points and set the tone for the remainder of the game when converting a free as early as the opening minute.

From that moment he could do little wrong as he proceeded to add a goal and four points before half-time.

The penalty within sight of the break was converted despite the best efforts of keeper Ronan Gallagher, and it proved a crucial score in that it gave the winners a degree of comfort going in at the interval 1-8 to 0-4.

Cross were fortunate not to be reduced to 13 in first-half injury-time after skipper Paul McKeown's high tackle on Sean Kelly.

The half-time break also allowed both teams time to cool off after an abrasive and over physical first 30 minutes and as so often happens in such a situation a game of football actually broke out in the second half.

Crossmaglen joint manager Tony McEntee was thrilled to bits with his team’s effort from start to finish. “We went out determined to impose ourselves on the game and I’m not sure whether they had a bad start or whether we actually just played well,” he said.

“We enjoyed a blistering start and by half-time were comfortably ahead by seven points.

“On the restart we then added two or three points which gave us some breathing space, but I wasn’t happy with the amount of space we afforded them in the second half.”

Overall Rangers were good value for their victory which now sets up a semi-final meeting with either Burren or Coleraine who play next Sunday in Newry.

Sean Kelly, Conor McGourty and Kevin Niblock tried their best, but the losers’ challenge effectively evaporated the moment Paul Hearty saved Kevin Niblock’s second half penalty.

CROSSMAGLEN: P Hearty, P McKeown, P Kernan, J Morgan, A Kernan 0-2, D O’Callaghan, S Finnegan, J Hanratty, D McKenna 0-2, McNamee 0-1, S Kernan, F Hanratty, T Kernan, A Cunningham, O McConville 1-6. Subs: F Bellew for A Cunningham,J McEntee 0-1 for F Bellew, B McKeown for P McKeown, K Carragher for M McNamee.

ST Gall’s: R Gallagher, C Brady, A McClean, P Veronica, T O’Neill, A Healy, S Kelly, 0-1 S Burke, A O’Gallagher, M Pollock 0-1, Kieran McGourty, Karl Stewart, CJ McGourty 0-6, R Gallagher, K Niblock 0-1. Subs: S Burns for Kieran McGourty, Kevin McGourty for M Pollack, McKelly for S Burke.

Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan).

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