Predicted Teams and Match Ups – Crossmaglen vs Maghery

This weekend will see Maghery and Crossmaglen head into battle, with the winner getting their hands on the Gerry Fegan trophy.

Only once in their history have Maghery been crowned Senior Football Champions, while the feat is nothing new to the Rangers.

Stephen Kernan’s men are hoping to complete three in a row titles and reaffirm their position as top dogs in the county.

Maghery are undoubtably worthy opposition and they are the last team to defeat Crossmaglen in the Championship, back in 2017.

They did that in heroic fashion as they overcame the Rangers twice that season, before losing out to Armagh Harps in the decider.

It could be argued they beat a Cross team in transition three years ago and a win over their rivals in a final this time around would be much sweeter.

Oisin O’Neill got both Crossmaglen goals when the sides clashed last season.

During Finnian Moriarty’s tenure, his Maghery men have crossed swords with the men in black and amber four times, winning three.

The one blot on their record is the Championship Semi Final of last season, where Crossmaglen were much the better side.

Oisin O’Neill rattled the net twice as Maghery limped out of the Championship, failing to pose any real threat to the Armagh kingpins.

O’Neill, along with his younger sibling Rian, remain key figures in the Crossmaglen line up and Maghery’s match ups will have to be spot on.

Similarly, the loughshore natives have some talented players in their ranks, so match ups all over the field are going to be crucial.

How both starting 15s may look on Sunday!

Crossmaglen’s game winners

When Crossmaglen were in trouble against Killeavy and needed someone to step up and save the game, they weren’t short of contenders.

Youngster Dara O’Callaghan made his mark with two crucial points that helped his side through to the decider.

They have an abundance of attacking talent that is simply unmatched throughout the county, with all six forwards needing marked.

Then they have the added bonus of using the experienced Kyle Carragher as an impact sub, a deadly weapon to have on the line.

Check out our Preview Podcast of the big game!

When Finnian Moriarty starts to plan his match ups and man-marking duties, he’ll begin at the top with the two O’Neill’s.

Oisin may not feature in the forward division, lining out at midfield, but his attacking quality cannot be denied.

Ciaran Higgins has come out on top in his duels against Conor Turbitt and Anto Duffy and should go to centre field to take on O’Neill.

On the edge of the square is Rian, and Moriarty may have a few options of who he wants to guard the goals.

Rian O’Neill is the key attacking threat for the Rangers.

Gerard Campbell is their full back and he could shadow the younger O’Neill brother, but Maghery will get plenty of bodies back to cover.

Stephan Cusack seems the most likely to pick up the sweeper position with the likes of Stefan Forker, David Lavery and John Mackle all working hard to get back.

Brendan Haveron switched to corner back against the Ogs to pick up James Freeman, and could do the same in marking Cian McConville.

David Lavery is likely to drop back into a wing half back position, picking up Dara O’Callaghan with Oisin Lappin going toe-to-toe with Tony Kernan.

Oisin Cushnahan is another who works back, and he may be squared off with Mel Boyce, while John Mackle could go to centre half back, with Higgins at midfield.

Stephen Cusack is the likely sweeper while the rest of the defensive match ups will have to be spot on.

High fielding

On Sunday, we will witness two of the best high fielders in the county go up against each other in a match up that will be crucial in deciding the tie.

James Lavery has undoubtably been the best midfielder in Armagh club football for the best part of a decade and is still a motivating figure for Maghery.

His influence has been a major factor in the clubs success in recent years and he’s still a man the rest of the players look to for inspiration.

His aerial battle in the centre of the park with Stephen Morris could be one of the highlights of the game and it’s the standout match up.

Both players are exceptional in the air and Morris has stepped his game up this season and has become a real driving force in this Crossmaglen side.

The battle of James Lavery vs Stephen Morris could be the best match up on show!

Although Lavery has all the experience, you can be sure Morris won’t fear his opponent and will relish the battle.

The Cross man will feel that he should have the beating of Lavery on the ground, and if he can at least break even in the air, he will set Crossmaglen up well for victory.

There are rumours circulating that Morris will not play due to an injury, a massive blow to Crossmaglen and a huge disappointment to the neutral hoping to see this match up.

Oisin O’Neill is obviously another target for McConville to hit with kick outs and it’s likely Higgins will be instructed to try and break the ball.

Both keepers love to go long so Cross and Maghery will get plenty of bodies in around the middle third of the pitch.

Possession is crucial and their will be a lot to fight for around midfield. If Maghery are to have a chance, they need to come out on top.

There will be plenty of bodies in around the middle with possession key.

Long ball tactic

When Maghery overcame their South Armagh rivals back in 2017, the long ball tactic worked a treat.

Ronan Lappin is back on the edge of the square and will once again be the target and this could cause havoc.

Crossmaglen aren’t blessed with much height in their full back line and they’ve lost the likes of Rico Kelly from the past few years.

This could force Stephen Kernan to put James Morgan on Lappin, hoping he can out-muscle the big Maghery full forward.

Another option for Cross will be to give Alan Farrelly only his second appearance to date in the 2020 championship.

Ronan Lappin offers a brilliant option at full forward!

Farrelly didn’t feature in either win over Mullaghbawn or Killeavy but does have experience playing at full back.

Don’t be surprised if Kernan decides to go with Farrelly, but Morgan looks the best option of the back six that started the last day out.

With Morgan tied up, the responsibility of limiting Aidan Forkers influence will fall to corner back Chris Crowley.

Lappin and Forker play off each other in the two-man full forward line and with the seven goals conceded against Ballymacnab in the league still fresh in their heads, Cross will likely employ Callum Cumiskey as sweeper in front of the pair.

Should Maghery decide to start Brian McIlmurray as well, another option for the long ball, this could cause headaches in the Cross defence.

Paul Hughes is another standout man marker for Crossmaglen and his pace will most likely be tested as he comes up against Brian Fox.

Brian Fox offers serious pace to the Maghery attack and will need to be marked

Fox does like to drop back, leaving Hughes as an attacking weapon for Cross, but when Fox goes, he goes at serious pace.

His direct running style can cause bother and it’s sure that Stephen Kernan will want one of his trusted man-markers to shadow Fox.

Stefan Forker works back for his side but showed against Pearse Ogs that he’s still an attacking threat, kicking three brilliant scores.

We could see Aaron Kernan picking up the older Forker brother, but he may hold his position should Forker drift back into defence.

This leaves the two youngsters in Tony O’Callaghan and Kevin Robinson pitted against each other, both featuring in their first ever Senior Final.

It will be interesting to see how Maghery set up their attacking unit!