Crossmaglen 0-15 Killeavy 0-13
Crossmaglen remain on course to claim their third county title in as many seasons, but this is one Killeavy will rue for a long time.
For years, the name McConville has been recognised as the Crossmaglen savour. Think Jim, think Oisin, now think Tiarnan.
The young netminder pulled off the save of the season in the dying minutes of the game to keep their championship hopes alive.
Ciaron O’Hanlon’s effort dropped just short of the intended target and Niall Magennis was on hand to punch the ball goalward.
But McConville shifted his body weight, leaped across the face of the goal and denied a historic three-pointer that would have surely won the game for the underdogs.
Cross were under pressure for the majority of the second half, but just got their heads settled and their noses in front when it mattered most.
There were enough reasons for the men in black and amber to lose this game, but Cross don’t do excuses.
They were down a man after Tony Kernan saw red for two bookable offences and had to watch the second period from the stand.
They lost experienced men through injury with Callum Cumiskey, Aaron Kernan and Kyle Carragher all limping off the field of play.
Yet Cross had enough grit, determination and class to see the game through.
Killeavy recorded seven unanswered points during an enthralling second half, holding their opponents scoreless for a full fifteen minutes.
Stephen Kernan’s men built up a 0-10 to 0-5 lead by the half time break, with Stephen Morris and Cian McConville sharing six of those scores.
An inspiration McConville effort from close to the corner flag got his side off to the perfect start after the interval.
Conor O’Neill did close the gap, but two Rian O’Neill efforts gave Cross a strong seven-point advantage.
Then came the Killeavy surge.
Ciaron O’Hanlon swung over two excellent scores, as did Ronan McGuinness, while Kyle Mallon, Caolan McConville, and Paul Quinn all raised white flags to swing momentum in their favour.
Crossmaglen always had the experience to not panic, and the quality to take a chance when the opportunity arose.
18-year-old Dara O’Callaghan swung over the final two points of the game, prior to Tiarnan McConville’s heroics, to guide the reigning championship into the showpiece.
It was a harsh one for Killeavy to lose and they are a team for the future.
But for now, focus within the county will turn to the decider between the familiar foes of Crossmaglen and Maghery in two weeks’ time.
Crossmaglen: Tiarnan McConville, Christopher Crowley, James Morgan, Paul Hughes, Aaron Kernan, Callum Cumiskey, Tony O’Callaghan, Stephen Morris (0-3), Daniel Cumiskey, Dara O’Callaghan (0-3), Oisin O’Neill (0-2), Tony Kernan, Cian McConville (0-4), Rian O’Neill (0-3 2f), Mel Boyce. Subs: Garvan Carragher for C. Cumiskey, Kyle Carragher for D. Cumiskey, Padraig Stuttard for A. Kernan, Patsy Finnegan for K. Carragher, Odhran Kieran for M. Boyce.
Killeavy: Shea Magill, Conor Magennis, Cathair McKinney, Lee Rice, Kyle Mallon (0-2), David Markey, Jamie Cosgrove, James Donnelly, Eoin McPartland, Ronan McGuinness (0-2), Conor O’Neill (0-1), Ciaran Cosgrove, Miceal McNamee (0-2 2f), Caolan McConville (0-3), Ciaron O’Hanlon (0-2). Subs: Niall Magennis for C. Cosgrove, Paul Quinn (0-1) for E. McPartland, Oisin King for M. McNamee.