1A Game of the Week – Round 2

Crossmaglen vs Ballymacnab

Over the past two years there can be no doubt that these two sides have been the top two teams in the county.

They have contested the last two county finals in 2018 and 2019, with The Rangers coming out on top on both occasions.

Ballymacnab have looked to be the team to break the stranglehold Crossmaglen have on the Armagh Championship, but have come on short in recent years.

In fact, The Round Towers have not only failed to beat Crossmaglen in their last five meetings but have not got within six points.

This Friday evening, both sides head into their round two clash with zero points on the board, having both lost out in their opening day contests.

Ballymacnab fell at the hands of Dromintee in an under-whelming performance at home last Friday evening.

A Dromintee goal at the death was enough to overturn the 2018 league champions as they had clawed their way back into the game.

An injury stricken Ballymacnab still have some of the finest forwards in the county with the Grugan brother Rory and Jack supporting Gavin McParland upfront.

Crossmaglen may struggle to contain the Nabs forward trio, as the Rangers fielded an inexperienced full-back line against Maghery.

Christopher Crowley was joined by Daniel Cumiskey and Liam Blessing in the last line of defence while James Morgan, Rico Kelly and Aaron Kernan all didn’t feature.

Paul Hughes performed superbly when tagging Aidan Forker last weekend and his battle with Rory Grugan will go a long way in deciding the result.

Last year’s All-Star centre half back Callum Cumiskey was introduced during the opening period of last week’s contest and is likely to see more game time on Friday.

Stephen Kernan will be happy with his midfield combination as Stephen Morris and Oisin O’Neill formed a formidable partnership in the opening round.

The pair have all the strength, power and footballing ability needed to play around the centre of the park with Rian O’Neill well fit to come out and offer his assistance.

The younger of the O’Neill brothers spent most of his time at full forward against Maghery and it’s likely he will renew acquaintances with Ryan Kennedy on the edge of the square.

While Stephen Kernan’s men didn’t get off the mark against Maghery, their new manager will be pleased by their performance.

They dominated proceedings in the second period, holding the eventual winners to just two points, one either side of the half.

Home advantage could prove crucial this weekend as things start heating up with Championship just two weeks away.

We hope to see some serious football being played on Friday evening as both sides enjoy kicking the ball and going man-to-man.

With neither team able to feature their strongest hand, home advantage could be key and Cross look most likely to pick up their first points of 2020.

Big tthanks to BMAC Air View for sponsoring our preview of the game. Check out their Instagram page below!!