Ryan Owens (Clann Eireann)
Both teams have had a similar route to the final playing 1A and 1B teams. Although, Maghery were made to work a bit harder in their games than Cross on their way to the final. If Maghery are to beat Cross they need to capitalise on the slaw starts Cross have had.
I would imagine Finn Mo will have them set up defensively in order to stop the attacking threat of Cross and try to break out in numbers, whilst Cross will play their usual style of forward-thinking football.
The match ups of Higgins/O’Neill and Morgan/Forker could decide who wins this game. I see it playing out as a cagey affair for the first half at least and opening up a bit more in the second.
Maghery are well able to pull off a shock, they’ll have to be extremely clinical and if they go ahead, can’t sit back and invite Cross onto them as Ballymacnab have done in the past few years, they’ll have to put pressure on up the pitch without being naïve.
All being said I see Cross weathering the Maghery storm and retaining the title.
Ryan Watters (Ballymacnab)
I think the game will be tight in the opening rounds, with Maghery matching Cross physically but I think in the second half, with the game opening up, cross will have too much fire power upfront and will see it through by a few scores.
Maghery will need to find scorers all over the field and not relying on the Forkers to keep themselves in contention.
Shea Loye (Mullaghbawn)
Very tough one to call, two very experienced teams who know what it’s like to win. I think Cross will have the edge if they gat similar performances from their younger lads that have already made a massive impact this year. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see extra time, then anything could happen.
Ciaron O’Hanlon (Killeavy)
It’s hard to know what way Maghery are going to set up but if they can play direct football and win the midfield battle, they give themselves a chance. It’s still hard to look past Cross though as they have been in this position many times before.
In saying that I believe Maghery are good enough to get over the line against a steady and strong Cross team, but it won’t be by much.
Aaron Findon (St Peter’s)
From knowing a lot of players both sides there is a lot on the line. Maghery want to beat Cross in a final to really cement this particular teams legacy in the club and Cross never want a scratch on their own legacy.
Something I’d imagine Stephen Kernan doesn’t want on his CV in his first year as senior manager. So, with that I see the tone of the game being played on a very close line between competitive football and the dark arts.
I’ll go for Maghery to just edge it, I have to back the North Armagh lads and Finn Mo.
Niall Smith (Madden)
It’s hard not to fancy Cross again this year, they always seem to put in a big performance when they need to. Maghery are a big physical team with some good footballer which will keep them in it for the majority of the game.
I think Cross will start to pull away in the last 10/15 mins from what I have seen they just have the better individual players that can change a game. The likes of the two O’Neill’s, Aaron Kernan and McConville, so on that bases I have to go with Cross.
Simon McCoy (Armagh Harps)
I’m looking forward to the match. Maghery are a great team who have been one of the top sides in Armagh for the past decade and that’s testament to the quality and hunger in their squad.
Facing them is a very classy Crossmaglen side. While they may have lost some of the consistency of previous years, they’ve developed some exciting players in Dara O’Callaghan and Cian McConville that pose real threats to the Maghery back line.
Despite this, I think the desire of Maghery to get back on top in Armagh may give them the edge and fully hopping off the fence I predict Ronan Lappin scores the winning goal in a very close game.
James Freeman (Pearse Ogs)
I can see both teams coming in well prepared and organised. I believe Maghery will set up very defensively covering the space in front of Crossmaglen’s forward line, making it difficult for Cross to convert scores early.
In the second quarter I can see Cross chipping away and opening up a few points margin and I can see them pushing on in the second half of the game and winning my four or five points.
In saying that, if Maghery can get a goal at any stage of the game, anything can happen.