The long awaited clash with Garrycastle on St Patrick’s Day in Croke Park ended in a draw after the Rangers staged a classic comeback in the last quarter. Garrycastle scored first and held the lead for most of the game. Cross went in at half time 4 points adrift but made a spirited comeback in the second half and despite never gaining the lead they were unlucky not to edge ahead at the end to seal the match.
Crossmaglen and Garrycastle will have to replay their All-Ireland Club Final after a thrilling draw at Croke Park.
The replay has been fixed for Breffni Park Cavan on Saturday 31st March 2012 at 5.00pm. Admission is €15. Supporters can pay in at the gate and admission for juveniles is free.
Match Report from BBC NI:
AIB All Ireland Club SFC Final:
Crossmaglen 0-15 Garrycastle 1-12
Underdogs Garrycastle led throughout the first half with Patrick Mulvihill’s goal helping them carve out a 1-8 to 0-7 advantage by the interval.
The lead was extended to five before the inevitable Cross comeback.
Five unanswered scores saw Cross levelling and while Garrycastle led by two again, Cross got on terms again and missed a series of late chances.
The match was laden with controversial refereeing decisions from referee Rory Hickey.
The Clare man was probably correct to dismiss Tom McHugh and Paul Kernan in the third quarter as both men picked up their second yellow cards.
But influential Garrycastle forward Paul Dillon looked decidedly fortunate to only receive a yellow card early in the game when his head clearly made contact with Crossmaglen’s Brendan McKeown.
Dillon was on the scoresheet four minutes later as his point nudged Garrycastle 0-5 to 0-3 ahead.
Dessie Dolan was proving a huge handful for the Cross defence while James Duignan had also been on target for the Leinster champions.
Cross hit two of the next three scores to trail by the minimum and missed a goal chance when Aaron Kernan attempted to go for glory himself instead of passing to the unmarked Kyle Brennan.
Garrycastle’s goal came moments later as a long free broke to Mulvihill who picked his spot in the corner of the net with a low shot.
Aidan Browne’s point left a worrying five between the teams although Michael McNamee had the final first-half scoring say in injury-time.
Garrycastle’s McHugh was sent off soon after the restart but it was 14 a side by the 39th minute as Paul Kernan got his marching orders for a clumsy second yellow card.
By that stage, two more Dolan points had stretched Garrycastle’s lead to 1-10 to 0-8 and Cross looked in some trouble.
But true to form, Cross rallied with points from the Kernan brothers Aaron and Tony followed by three in a row from the hitherto subdued Oisin McConville as the sides were level.
Cross also looked to be denied a stonewall penalty as a Garrycastle defender appeared to handle in the small parallelogram after Clarke had struck the butt of an upright from close range.
Garrycastle looked out on their feet but they bravely moved two ahead again thanks to scores from Dolan and Mulvihill.
But Cross were level again by the 46th minute after a McConville free and a superb effort from David McKenna.
The holders totally dominated the closing stages as McConville (twice), Jamie Clarke and Tony Kernan all missed chances.
But Garrycastle, given little chance going into the game, deserved a second chance given their endeavour.