Armagh GAA Round-Up

August 28, 2012

• Armagh Senior Football Championship

Maghery v Crossmaglen

On paper another tricky assignment for the champions Crossmaglen Rangers who take on a Maghery side that have been going well in the League but now face the acid test as to their true potential. Cross mixed the good with the bad in their 2-12 to 2-7 win over Armagh Harps in the last round. Rangers were coasting 7 points to the good when they conceded 2 goals and the margin was down to the minimum and then they were reduced to 14 men following a second yellow for Johnny Hanratty. But when the pressure came on in typical fashion Cross rose to the challenge and outscored Harps 5 points to 1 in the closing stages of the match.

Maghery beat Whitecross 0-14 to 1-7 in a sub-standard encounter in the last round in which the wasteful winners led 0-5 to 0-3 at the short whistle having amassed 9 wides. A Barry McKeown goal for Whitecross levelled the match with 10 minutes left on the clock but 3 Stefan Forker points and one each from James Lavery and Aidan Forker eased Maghery over the finishline.

Cross will be hopeful that Paul Kernan and Oisin McConville, who both missed the last game, will have returned to the side along with Aaron Cunningham who retired injured in the win over Harps. Minor stars Mel Boyce and Callum Cumiskey will be seeking starting berths after impressing when brought on as substitutes, while debutant defenders Garvan Caragher and Paul Hughes will be looking to keep hold of their respective jersey’s worn with distinction in the Harps victory.

Maghery, powered by midfielder James Lavery, have got the forward talent in the Forkers Aidan, Conor and Stefan ably assisted by Shay Tennyson to trouble any defence but will need to maximize their conversion rate if they are to cause real problems for the champions. The trio in front of goalkeeper Johnny Montgomery (penalty save hero against Whitecross to keep his team in the lead) Darragh McConville, Conor Mackle and Gerard Campbell will have it all to do to stifle the goal threat posed by the champions.

The midfield battle between Lavery and new Rangers skipper David McKenna will be a highlight but it’s hard to see any other result than a victory for Cross. The hampions traditionally get better the further they go in the Championship and with their bench getting stronger and younger they have too much all round ability for the Loughshore men. Maghery may have beaten Cross in the League but this is Championship and they will be knocked out, left still seeking their first Senior Championship as Cross go into the last 4 and await the return of Jamie Clarke for the semis.

Culloville v St Patrick’s

Another south Armagh derby game for St Patrick’s as they take on last year’s Intermediate winners, Culloville. There is no doubt but Pat’s will have benefited from the replay win over Dromintee as they showed great grit and determination in both games. All looked lost in the first game when Dromintee edged ahead in added time but hero of the replay with 2 goals, Eugene Casey, levelled from a free. Culloville made a successful Senior Championship start with a comfortable 0-16 to 0-9 win over Clann Eireann. Once again Kieran Hatzer was their main marksman with 0-5 with the Watters’ Seamus and Colm, weighing in with 3 points apiece.

It will be interesting to see how midfield fares out with Padraig Caherty and Paul Kingham up against Malachy Mackin and Barry McConville of the Pats. Two other key battles will be full back Stephen Reel up against Hatzer and how Culloville’s Fergal Rowland shackles the very influential Eugene Casey.

All round the Cullyhanna boys look a better balanced outfit, especially defence wise. Culloville’s potency lies in their full forward line but their weakness is in their full back line. Both sides will fancy their chances in this one which should attract a bumper crowd to St Oliver Plunkett Park. Culloville to be singing the blues as Pat’s shade a low scoring encounter. intermediate football championship preview

Carrickcruppen v Sarsfields

Bonus territory for both with a place in the last four up for grabs on the Monday night game. A hat-trick of goals from Caolan McCullough propelled Carrickcruppen to a 3-12 to 1-6 win over St Michael’s in the last round. The Camlough outfit have got stronger as the year goes on with returnees from abroad and injuries boosting their cause. Billy Joe Padden, Declan Carville, Stephen Harold and Paul Keenan were to the fore in that win over Newtown.

Sarsfields spearheaded by the Stevensons, Peter, Patrick, John, Ritchie and Michael also have good players in their half forward line which consists of Thomas McAlinden, Mark Reynolds and Eamon McGeown. The High Moss outfit are pedigree championship battlers just like their opponents so this game will be played at a high tempo. For me ‘Cruppen are getting it together at the right time and have enough in hand to see off the Sarsfield challenge although it would not surprise me at the second day of asking. intermediate football championship review

Killeavy 1-11 St. Paul’s 0-8

For the second successive championship outing the foundation for victory was set in the opening half by Killeavy. Killeavy and Peter’s traded points in the opening four minutes but then the eventual winners hit 7 points on the trot without reply by the twenty first minute. Peter’s score 2 of the last 3 points of the half to go in trailing 0-9 to 0-3 at the short whistle. The second half only produced 8 scores in total 5 points to the Peter’s and 1-2 for Killeavy. The green flag was raised by Mick Murphy with 4 minutes left on the clock to put the game to bed. Michael Shanks 0-5 kept Peter’s in contention throughout but worrying for the winners was the fact that they failed to kill off the game earlier when in control of proceedings. Still having yet to realise their true potential title favourites Killeavy are comfortably through to the semis where they will meet the winner of the Madden v Mullaghbawn replay.

Madden 0-10 Mullaghbawn 1-7

Credit to Mullaghbawn who pulled this game out of the fire, having been outplayed for most of the second half, they clawed back a four point deficit to earn a draw. Kieran Grant blasted a last minute 14 yard free to the back of a crowded goalmouth to let Mullaghbawn live to fight another day. Madden trailed at the break 0-6 to 0-4 despite having played with the breeze. Instead of pushing on in the second half, Mullaghbawn crumbled and failed to score for some 26 minutes, with their first point of the half followed by that match saving goal. Madden will be wondering going into next Sunday’s replay just how they contrived to let this one slip from their grasp, simple wastefulness in front of the posts. Mullaghbawn will need two halves like the first one to stand any chance of getting to the last four for a tilt with neighbours Killeavy.