Team of the Decade – Half Forward Line

Rory Grugan

One of the classiest players around, Grugan has made himself known as a brilliant playmaker that can pull the strings from centre half forward and control the tempo of a game. On his day, he is a handful for some of the best man-markers in the county and is essential to Ballymacnab’s forward line.

Grugan can often find himself in the middle of the field as well and this decade has been a positive one for Grugan from a personal perspective as he made the jumper from minor to senior inter-county as well as helping his club to reach back to back county finals and a Senior League title.

Stephen Kernan

There was a stage during this decade that Stephen Kernan looked invincible, controlling the game from his half forward position while he could give a hand around the middle of the field when called upon.

Kernan didn’t always rack up big personal tallies but he was the architect of so much that was good about Crossmaglen’s play. A leader on the field, Kernan captained his side to All-Ireland glory in 2012 while picking up 6 county medals along the way. He was also a reliable free-taker for his side.

Aidan Forker

Has been a big part of the Maghery side this decade and has helped his men experience a successful; last 10 years, reaching the last four on 7 occasions, second only to Crossmaglen who have made the semis every year this decade. Forker always gets on the score sheet but can do a lot of the donkey work as well when required.

Forker has a range of positions that he has featured in for Maghery, from wing half back to corner forward, Forker has done it all. His 4 points against Cullyhanna were crucial in Maghery capturing their first ever Senior Champions in 2016 while he kicked four the following year when his side lost out to Armagh Harps.

Tony Kernan

One of Crossmaglen’s most reliable soldiers, Tony Kernan has been a vital part of his side this decade. While his influence may have been from the subs bench in recent years, Kernan always has a big influence on proceedings and can play anywhere from number 8 up and kicks frees for fun.

While Kernan could set up the play with his slick kick passing ability, he could also find the posts when the opportunity came knocking. His goal just before the interval in the 2012 county final was crucial for his side seeing off PearseOgs and Kernan has also gathered a range of medals along the way.

Ryan McShane

The speed-merchant will always be remembered as a hero around Armagh Harps after his contribution to the city side winning the Senior Championship after waiting 25 years. His goal at the beginning of the second half in the 2016 county final brought his side back into the game, which they eventually won by4 points.

His work-rate off the ball must be appreciated and his speed is a sight to behold, causing serious problems for every defence he has faced. McShane has also enjoyed a stint on the county panel where he displayed his talent to a wider audience but it’s his performances for the Harps that have always made McShane stand out.

Martin Aherne

An unsung hero of a great Crossmaglen team, Aherne always provided cover when it was required for Crossmaglen and was easy adaptable to the half back line as he was to the half forward line. Aherne was always committed to the cause and work have worked tirelessly all over the park, no matter where he played.

It was Aherne’s work-rate that made him stand out for Cross, and while he may not have got the paudits that some of his teammates would receive, Aherne was always a vital cog to the Crossmaglen machine.

Conor Clarke

Still going strong, Clarke now has to be happy with a place outside the starting 15 as he was used as an impact sub in 2019. But for the past part of 10 years Conor Clarke led the charge for PearseOgs during the times when the Ogs were challengers and duringt he low times as well.

Worked tremendously hard in the 2012 season where his side failed to get over the line against Crossmaglen and has been the ‘marked man’ from an opposition point of few for well over a decade. Clarke could control a game from the number 11 position as well as being a reliable free taker.

Mickey McNamee

Another work horse around the park for Crossmaglen during the last 10 years, and a player that maybe didn’t get the recognition he deserved, McNamee has played in a series of positions for his side and has collected 7 Armagh Championship medals during this time along with 4 Ulster titles and 2 All-Irelands.

McNamee was always a reliable servant to the black and amber jersey whether as a working half forward or free scoring corner forward. McNamee kicked 3 points from corner forward in the 2010 final against Dromintee while he also hit three points in last season semi-final win over Cullyhanna from the same position.