Maghery 2-8 Crossmaglen 0-13
Although both teams were understrength, it didn’t take away from the intensity that we have come to expect when these two sides head into battle.
Some of the scores witnessed, especially in the first half, were breath taking while the middle of the field was a warzone, with both keepers kicking long for the majority of the contest.
Two first half goals were ultimately the difference for Maghery, as they took a strong hold of the game inside the first 30 minutes.
Aidan Forker controlled the tempo in the opening exchanges with his free role but Maghery seemed to lose their way once Paul Hughes began to track his Armagh teammate.
The game was just three minutes old when the first green flag was raised after Brian McIlmurray was blatantly fouled inside the square.
Stephan Cusack stepped up and to smash the ball into the left-hand corner of the net to give his side the lead.
Cross steadied the ship with the O’Neill brothers combining to split the posts before Stefan Forker pointed from the dead ball, leaving Maghery ahead 1-1 to 0-3.
Forker was involved in the next play, winning a Crossmaglen kickout and some quick football saw possession transferred to Oisin Cushnahan who blasted the ball past the Cross netminder.
Maghery were now well on top and continued to turn the screw, with points from Ciaran Lappin and Aidan Forker keeping them in control.
The result could have been much different when the Maghery goalkeeper raced from his line to capture possession, only for the ball to take a bounce and sail over the number one’s head.
Luckily for Maghery the ball flew past the open net and wide to keep the hosts five-point advantage intact.
The O’Neill’s hit a point each, split by a Stefan Forker effort, to see the half time score Maghery 2-6 Crossmaglen 0-8.
The home side looked to push on at the start of the second period when Stefan Forker powered over a free from 50 yards, with the advantage of the wind at his back.
Maghery wouldn’t score again for the next 29 minutes but amazingly Crossmaglen couldn’t do enough to get back on level terms.
Dara O’Callaghan swung over a free with his favourite left foot while Tony O’Callaghan and Oisin O’Neill added scores.
Both sides had enough chances to add to their tallies while goal opportunities were missed at both ends of the field.
Eamon Cusack, the Maghery keeper, came forward to slot over his sides second score of the half with a 45 before Cross where reduced to 14 men with time almost up.
Paul Hughes blasted over a long-range score before the final whistle sounded, with the home side picking up the maximum points on offer as they held a slender one-point lead at the end.
Killeavy 1-13 Pearse Og 0-10
Killeavy collected their first points of the season as they earned a six-point win over the travelling Pearse Og side.
The opening exchanges where fairly even and Marc Cullen’s 13th minute point saw the sides tied at four points each.
Anto Duffy did nudge the away side ahead but five unanswered Killeavy points gave the home side the advantage at the break, winning 0-9 to 0-5.
Things only got worse for the Ogs at the beginning of the second period when Killeavy opened up a seven-point lead with the game’s only goal.
Two Marc Cullen points along with efforts from James Freeman and substitute Niall Boyle closed the margin to five with the game nearing its conclusion.
Killeavy finished strongly with the final two points of the contest and now sit top of Division 1A after the opening weekend.
Shane O’Neill’s 1-12 Tir na nOg 1-9
The 2019 Intermediate finalists got their season off to a winning start when they welcomed Tir na nOg to Camlough on Sunday afternoon.
The sides matched each other score for score during the opening period before Greg McCabe powered through the visitors defence to find the game’s opening goal.
Connaire Mackin increased his sides advantage to three but the away team were back on level terms with three unanswered scores before the break, 1-3 to 0-6 at the interval.
Mackin once again split the posts with Tir na nOg levelling once more with the next attack, before edging ahead with another point.
The Shane’s really began to step up and seven points without reply allowed the home side some breathing space.
Mackin curled over a 45 while Mark McCabe, Paul O’Rourke, Ciaran Mackin and Matthew Girvan all raised white flags for the Shane’s.
Tir na nOg closed the gap with a penalty late on but the damage had been done, and the Camlough men earned their first two points of the campaign.
Tullysaran 1-14 Whitecross 3-11
Two second half goals were enough to help Whitecross pick up two points on the opening day but it was far from one-way traffic.
The home side took control early, striking 1-2 in the opening exchanges before Whitecross eventually found their feet.
Jack Quinn netted for the visiting side while Ryan McSherry found his range to close the gap to two.
Mickey McGrory levelled the contest before Aiden Finnegan handed Whitecross the lead for the first time in the game.
Cathal McSherry was on target with a few efforts as the short whistle sounded and Whitecross headed into the interval ahead 1-7 to 1-4.
Tullysaran fought back strongly in the second period and the sides were soon level with 20 minutes of the contest remaining.
Whitecross fired themselves ahead once again, finding the back of the net for the second time in the game.
With time almost up, Whitecross again raised a green flag to undo all Tullysaran’s hard work, as the hosts had closed the gap to one, but it wasn’t enough as Whitecross saw out a three point win in the end.
St Paul’s and Culloville also met yesterday in the Division 2A league but the game was abandoned before the finish.
Wolfe Tones 0-14 Carrickcruppen 1-11
These two sides played out the only game in the Division on Sunday, which finished with the only draw of the weekend.
Wolfe Tones opened the scoring with two early points before efforts Lorcan McParland and Blaine Hughes (45) levelled matters.
‘Cruppen soon found themselves ahead as John McCullough punched home a goal following good work from youngster Jack Cunningham.
McCullough kept the scoreboard ticking over with a point while Eoin Woods also split the posts to see the away side ahead by one at the break, 1-6 to 0-8.
The sides were soon back on level terms after the resumption, but a Declan Carville score nudged the visitors ahead once more.
Blaine Hughes ensured his side remained in contention with an incredible save while neither side could find the winning score, ensuring a share of the spoils.
Clady 0-9 Eire Og 1-12
In Sunday’s only game in the Junior Division Eire Og picked up an early two points on the road.
Eire Ogs first half goal gave them the advantage, but Clady pushed the visiting side close and only trailed by two points at the halfway stage.
However, Eire Og started the second period the brighter, outscoring the home team 0-5 to 0-2 to take a five-point lead.
The away team claimed the final two points of the day to come away with a six-point win and get their season off to a positive start.