Crossmaglen Rangers see off Kilcoo in Ulster Final
Crossmaglen claimed their third Ulster title in a row after a blistering first few minutes that put Kilcoo to the sword and sees the South Armagh men firmly on their way to yet another All Ireland title.
The Rangers netted two goals in the opening three minutes, through Oisin McConville (pen) and Aaron Kernan and showed why they were hotly tipped as favorites as they steamed in to an 11 point lead within the first 17 minutes.
McConville converted from the penalty spot after a foul on Stephen Kernan, the Cross veteran effortlessly slotted the ball in to the bottom right hand corner of the Kilcoo net. Cross were at it again straight after the kick out with Aaron Kernan blitzing the Kilcoo defence to blast the ball home, leaving the down men looking shell-shocked.
Cross rested on their laurels in the later stages of the first half and Kilkoo knocked over two unanswered points before the break.
Half time score Crossmaglen 2-3 Kilcoo 0-3
When the teams came out for the second half the Armagh champions had a comfortable 9 point lead but credit to Kilcoo who staged a mini fight back and after Aaron Kernan opened the scoring in the first half with a point, Kilcoo knocked over three points without reply.
On 41 minutes Kilcoo’s Anthony Devlin put the ball in the Cross net making the game a bit more interesting for the neutral spectator and when Michael McNamee was sent off for striking resulted in a free for Kilcoo that left only 3 points between the sides a shock might have been on the cards.
But the Crossmaglen men showed just why they are the kingpins of Ulster and All Ireland champions by stepping it up another gear and even after losing Jamie Clarke to a second yellow card, they pulled further in the front with further points from Oisin McConville and Martin Ahern and a further goal by Kyle Brennan put the game to bed.
“From the 17th minute we stopped playing and we were lucky in the end,” said Crossmaglen’s Stephen Kernan. “Thankfully we got the scores in the last 10 minutes and we’ll enjoy Christmas and look forward to the semi-final.”
Kilcoo manager Jimmy McCrory admitted his team’s poor start proved decisive. “They blitzed us in the first half – they are a classy side and were worthy winners,” he said. “We took the game to them in the second half but the damage was done and the goals killed us in the end.”
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