AIB Ulster Club Senior Football Championship Final:
Crossmaglen (Armagh) 2-9 Naomh Conaill (Donegal) 0-10
Crossmaglen claimed the AIB Ulster GAA Football Senior Club Championship title following a 2-9 to 0-10 defeat of Donegal’s Naomh Conaill at Kingspan Breffni Park, Cavan on Sunday afternoon.
Cross’, the 38-times Armagh champions, trailed by 0-7 to 1-3 to the Glenties outfit at the break, with Jamie Clarke netting the only goal of the half in the 15th minute.
Former inter-county star Oisín McConville then added a second goal on the resumption of play to secure an eighth provincial title for the Orchard County kingpins.
“It was no more than a half-an-hour display,” said Crossmaglen joint manager Tony McEntee. “Half-time triggered us, it gave us a chance to get restructured.
“I thought in the first half our defence was poor — we were lacklustre marking our men. It was causing us trouble. That’s why Francie (Bellew) had to go on. Our midfield struggled, we were very poor with no ball going into the forward line.”
McConville, 35, finished with 1-3 to his name, and his tally was key to a hard-earned success. Remarkably, McConville has featured in each of Crossmaglen’s eight Ulster titles wins since 1996.
Naomh Conaill, the Donegal champions for just the second time in 2010, started brightly and dominated the opening exchanges with Anthony Thompson superb at centre-back.
However, somewhat against the run of play, Clarke’s goal on the quarter hour mark gave Crossmaglen an undeserved early lead.
The Glenties men responded impressively to outscore their opponents by four pints to one over the remainder of the first half, with Dermot Gallagher supplying two points from play.
Immediately after the break, Crossmaglen were reduced to 14 men when Tony Kernan was sent off for a second yellow card offence.
The Armagh men are renowned for their battling qualities, and they showed real quality to make light of their numerical disadvantage, as McConville slipped home a crucial goal a minute later after a clever Clarke pass.
McConville then added a further score from play and Aaron Kernan chipped in with a point from a placed ball to kill off the Naomh Conaill challenge.
CROSSMAGLEN RANGERS: P Hearty; P McKeown, P Kernan, KJ Morgan; A Kernan (0-1 free) , D O’Callaghan, S Finnegan; J Hanratty, D McKenna; J Clarke (1-2) , S Kernan, F Hanratty; T Kernan (0-1), M McNamee (0-1), O McConville (1-5, 0-4 frees).
Subs: F Bellew for M McNamee (27 mins), A Cunningham for S Kernan (39 mins), M Aherne for S Finnegan (39 mins), K Carragher for F Hanratty (50 mins), J McEntee for D McKenna (54 mins).
NAOMH CONAILL: S McGrath; T Donoghue, J Bonner C Boyle, M Boyle; A Thompson (c) E Wade, M Regan; J McLoone, B McDyre (0-2); L McCloone (0-1), D Gallagher (0-3, 0-2 frees) ; J O’Malley, D Molloy (0-4, frees) , L Thompson.
Subs: S Corcoran for L Thompson (50 mins), J McKenna for J O Malley (57 mins).
Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan).