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Cross Book Last Semi Spot

Tuesday 14.11.2017
Team Talk Mag
Championship Football


 

Crossmaglen 1-13 St.Brigids 1-6

Crossmaglen claimed the last semi-final spot in this season’s Paul McGirr U16 Club Champions Tournament when they had seven points to spare over Antrim champions St.Brigids.

 

The result of this game was in doubt right up until the final minutes with a little bit of extra composure from the Armagh champions and a stronger bench proving the difference between two evenly match sides. St. Brigids started off in impressive fashion and but for some wayward finishing and poor shot selection they would have been well ahead at half time. Centre back Calum Webb and the midfield partnership of Conor Slevin and Thomas O’Doherty gave them a strong platform while the direct running of centre forward Eoin Brown was proving a constant threat for the Cross defence.

 

Wing forward Marcus Lynch slotted over two excellent points to give St. Brigids the early advantage but as play swung from end to end a point from Dara O’Callaghan and a fisted effort from the industrious Patsy Finnegan brought the scores level.   The first goal of the game came when Toirealach Brolly got on the end of a fine move initiated by Paul Bradley to apply a finish his father Joe would have been proud of. This goal prompted the Cross management into a few changes with imposing full forward Shane Morgan drifting out to midfield to give them some added strength in this area. Cross got back on level terms with two points from Oisin Doyle who was to finish top scorer as well as another O’Callaghan effort.   Three St. Brigids points from Lynch, Bradley and Brown put them back in command before late efforts from Morgan and Doyle reduced the deficit to the minimum at half time.

 

Half time also signalled the key point in the game when the Cross management of Tim Gregory and Gene O’Callaghan made a series of switches moving Ryan Duffy back to curb the influence of Brown and switching Thomas Duffy to corner back to mark Bradley who was proving to be a great outlet for St. Brigids in the first half. The performance of the Duffy brothers was to prove key to Crossmaglen’s success with Ryan picking up the man of the match trophy cutting out many St. Brigids attacks while the foraging of the Finnegan twins Liam and Patsy also having a great influence on the final outcome.

 

A Ben Doherty point for St. Brigids in response to another effort from Doyle was to prove to be the last score of the game for the Antrim champions as they failed to convert some gilt-edged chances as the game progressed. Diminutive corner forward James Teelan had a great second half and it was a fine effort from him that gave Cross a lead that they were never to lose.   Further scores came from Doyle and O’Callaghan put them three ahead before the game defining moment came with Liam Finnegan picking up a miss-hit James McKenna kick out and lobbing the keeper from fifty yards for a Cross goal.

 

St. Brigids had further chances to reduce the deficit but Cross absorbed the pressure and two points on the break from Liam Finnegan and Teelan brought the scoring to a conclusion. The game was a breath of fresh air to all present with both teams playing an attacking brand of football in a game bereft of sweepers and many of the negative tactics that blight our current game, it was a credit to both management teams. St. Brigids represented their county in tremendous style but Cross secured their passage to the semi-final where they will take in Derrygonnelly on Saturday at 2:00 seeking a place in the final and a chance to emulate their club mates who secured the prestigious Paul McGirr title in 2013.

 

Crossmaglen – S Morgan, Ruairi Kieran, T O’Callaghan, O McKeown, T Duffy, M Murray, T Cassidy, P Finnegan (0-1), R Duffy, D O’Callaghan (0-3 – 1f), O Doyle (0-5), R Fitzpatrick, L Finnegan (1-1), S Morgan (0-1), J Teelan (0-2) – Subs S Hughes for Fitzpatrick, C Dooley for Hughes

 

St. Brigids – J McKenna, S Campbell, D Foster, D Harrison, T McCarney, C Webb, R Boyle, C Slevin, T O’Doherty, E Brown (0-1f), H Leeson, M Lynch (0-3), P Bradley (0-1), B Doherty (0-1), T Brolly (1-0)

Referee – Eamon McHugh

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