Predicted teams and match ups – Crossmaglen vs Killeavy

Killeavy have got to this stage of the Senior Championship playing a different brand of football than we have witnessed from them in recent years.

In their two games, they have recorded 2-32 (2-15 vs Grange, 0-17 vs Harps) playing a new attacking style of football.

But this weekend, toe-to-toe combat wouldn’t be recommended as they face a Crossmaglen side full of attacking quality.

Stephen Kernan’s men have ditched the sweeper system they used last year for a more gung-ho approach.

Although they haven’t been pushed at any stage of this years championship, Crossmaglen have displayed a ruthless determination in their attack.

They also have some of the best man-markers in the county such as James Morgan, Paul Hughes and Chris Crowley.

Killeavy will of course be up against it this weekend and we’ve taken a look at how both clubs may line up their sides.

How the sides may start on Sunday.

Killeavy to go on the defensive?

All six of the starting forwards wearing the black and amber need to be man-marked, with the two O’Neill’s, Cian McConville, Mel Boyce, Dara O’Callaghan and Tony Kernan all posing huge threats.

The Killeavy O’Neill’s, Donal and Conor, could play in the central positions, picking up the Crossmaglen brothers Rian and Oisin.

Conor O’Neill has played everywhere for Killeavy in recent years and is perhaps best suited to pick up Oisin O’Neill. He will look to drive forward and put the Crossmaglen man on the back foot.

Jamie Cosgrove done a brilliant job on ‘Minnie’ McShane the last day out and may shadow Cian McConville, while Kyle Mallon is another option for that job.

Lee Rice is likely to pick up his former Armagh under 17 teammate Dara O’Callaghan, adaptable to either the half back or full back line.

Mel Boyce and Tony Kernan both picked up goals the last day out and David Markey along with Cathair McKinney will look to curb their influences.

Kyle Mallon and Ciaran Cosgrove are options for sweepers, but Killeavy could play Conor O’Neill in this position and let him burst forward on the attack should they turn the ball over.

Each one of the Crossmaglen attackers will need marked, we’ve tired to figure out who will pick them up.
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Midfield battle

James Donnelly is another choice to man-mark one of the O’Neill brothers, but Killeavy would be losing their midfield general with that choice.

The 2009 minor All-Ireland winner would be confident of getting the best of his duel with Alan Farrelly and will try to perform a ‘box-to-box’ role.

Stephen Morris and Cathal Boylan look a physical match in centre-field and will fight it out for primary possession.

Morris is the Crossmaglen vice-captain and has become a real leader for his side while Boylan wears the captains armband for his side.

Killeavy will hope to at least break even around the centre of the park, limiting Crossmaglen’s ability to get quick, quality ball into their attack.

Both sides are likely to gather bodies around the central area so we could see a real battle for possession in the middle third.

If Killeavy drop men back, Crossmaglen could push up with the likes of Paul Hughes and Callum Cumiskey driving forward.

Attacking options for both sides

Caolan McConville has been transformed into a scoring inside forward this season and is the main attacking threat on the edge of the square.

He has started brilliantly in both games so far in the championship, but will need a full sixty minutes on Sunday to give his side a chance.

He will face one of the toughest man-markers in the county with James Morgan likely to pick him up and will relish the physical battle the pair will share.

Miceal McNamee is McConville’s partner in the inside line and youngster Tony O’Callaghan could match up with him having impressed so far this season.

If Killeavy are to play a defensive formation, they will need a link-man to start attacks on the 40 and that could be Ciaron O’Hanlon.

He has been replaced against Grange and the Harps due to a hamstring injury and his loss would be crucial this weekend.

O’Hanlon of course could play further out the field with Conor O’Neill playing centre half forward, both quality options on the ball.

Ronan McGuinness is a good young footballer and he may take on the experience of Aaron Kernan come Sunday.

Should Killeavy drop men back, Crossmaglen will look to get the likes of Callum Cumiskey and Paul Hughes on the ball to attack from deep.

The pair are well used to bombing up the field and kicking scores while being expert defenders at the same time.

Stephen Kernan seems to be going for a man-to-man stance, so don’t be surprised to see Crossmaglen push up on Killeavy’s free men.

Should Cross continue their all out attack we could see Hughes, Cumiskey or even Aaron Kernan playing in the attack.

Killeavy will need a link man on the 40, perhaps Ciaron O’Hanlon can perform this role.