Jack Grugan claims the full forward position in the Club All-Star team for the second year in a row with Ballymacnab’s top marks man once again proving his worth throughout the 2019 season. Conor McNally earns one of the corner forward spots after a terrific year, becoming the first Derrynoose player to be named on the club team of the year.
Completing the full forward line is Crossmaglen youngster Cian McConville, who also grabs his first Club All-Star award, the final of Crossmaglen’s five representatives on the team. McConville was a constant threat to every defence he faced this season and was in exceptional form throughout the championship. His natural ability to kick off both feet is a sight to behold and he is certainly one of the best young footballers in the county.
Following in the footsteps of his older cousin Rian O’Neill he takes some inspiration in O’Neill’s progression, “It’s actually surprising, in my first year (on the starting team). I know Rian won it in his first year so obviously that’s a wee bit of motivation. Looking at him doing the things that he’s doing it has really pushed me on too I suppose”.
McConville made his name in his debut season during last year’s Senior Championship as a ‘super-sub’, when he was introduced into the fray to see games out. This season however he has not only been a constant starter in the Crossmaglen team, but quite often was the vocal point of their attack.
With this comes its own pressure and McConville feels last year was certainly much easier for him to make an impact on games, when he was being sprung from the bench, but he also admits that he enjoys the demands that comes with the starting position and being relied on for scores for his side.
“The intensity has definitely stepped up, I remember it used to be much easier when you could come on and you’re unknown like last year, coming on as a sub was probably easier, but you do definitely get more attention now when you’re playing week in and week out and people know you so it is a step up”.
“It comes with age as well I think and a wee bit of experience to deal with the pressure and obviously as a forward you’re going to be relied on for scores so it is a lot of pressure but I’ve found it’s been a pretty good year so I’m happy enough”.
While Crossmaglen once again captured the Gerry Fegan cup, for the 45th time in their history, McConville suggests that the Ulster Championship is an itch his side will continue to scratch. The Rangers crashed out of the Ulster Championship this year in a surprising first round loss to Clontibret following on from last season’s seven defeat to eventual champions Gweedore in the Ulster semi final.
“Definitely yeah, we’d be an ambitious club so we’d be happy, it’s great to win Armagh Championships and we’re really happy with our success this year in Armagh, but we’d have been disappointed after Clontibret so we’ll definitely be looking to push on further now for next year”.