Maghery 4-9 Crossmaglen 0-17
Four goals, split evenly by the half time break, saw Maghery capture their second ever Senior Championship crown on Sunday.
They won their maiden back in 2016, but this time around faced a Crossmaglen side aiming to complete their three in a row.
On the big days, you need your big players to step up, and Maghery had leaders all over the field.
Unfortunately for Cross, they started without two of their stars as both Tiernan McConville and Stephen Morris missed out through injury.
Aidan Forker, Stephen Cusack and Caolan Hendron gave unbelievable displays while Ben Crealey’s introduction helped turn the tide in Maghery’s favour in the third quarter.
Goals win games and Hendron’s quality kept the ball out of the Maghery net, while the Loughshore men took the Cross defence for four goals.
It wasn’t all plain sailing of course, and although Maghery raised two green flags in the first half, Cross still had their noses ahead at the interval.
Oisin O’Neill was in inspired form for his side, hitting five of Crossmaglen’s 0-11 in the opening period.
Younger brother Rian chipped in with two, his first cancelling out Aidan Forker’s opening score in the third minute.
Maghery nudged ahead during the hectic opening minutes when Brendan Haveron, who was superb on Cian McConville, roamed forward to strike the game’s opening goal.
Cross could have been back on level terms but for Hendron’s heroics, as he turned away James Morgan shot on goal, before doing likewise from an Oisin O’Neill effort.
O’Neill did grab three points in quick succession, while Rian slotted over a free to give Cross a one-point lead.
Stephen Cusack traded score with Oisin O’Neill and Dara O’Callaghan before points from McConville, Tony Kernan and the older O’Neill put Cross four up.
Maghery closed that gap just before the break when Brian Fox raced through on goal, toe-poking the ball past the diving keeper after losing control of possession.
Cross did get the final score of the first period through youngster O’Callaghan, to leave the half time score 0-11 to 2-3.
Maghery burst out of the traps in the second period and soon led through scores from Aidan and Stefan Forker as well as Gerard Campbell.
Oisin O’Neill and Kyle Carragher saw their efforts split by Stefan Forker’s second to edge Maghery ahead by one.
Then came the score of the game, and perhaps the goal of the season. Crealey once again had a hand to play, delivering a ball to Aidan Forker.
He showed tremendous strength to gain possession, burned his marker on the turn and slotted the ball straight into the bottom corner of the net.
Maghery then went six points up when Stefan Forker dropped the ball into the square and Ronan Lappin rose highest to punch the ball to the net.
Cross did tag on five of the last seven scores, but ultimately, without rattling the net, were unlikely to get back on level terms.
Maghery were hugely impressive and needed to be to hand Cross their first Armagh Championship Final defeat since 1982.
Unfortunately, there is no Ulster Championship this year, but Maghery will be pleased with their achievement.
Maghery Scorers: Aidan Forker (1-3), Ronan Lappin (1-0), Brian Fox (1-0), Brendan Haveron (1-0), Stephen Cusack (0-3), Stefan Forker (0-2), Gerard Campbell (0-1).
Crossmaglen Scorers: Oisin O’Neill (0-6), Rian O’Neill (0-3), Tony Kernan (0-2), Cian McConville (0-2), Dara O’Callaghan (0-2), Callum Cumiskey (0-1), Kyle Carragher (0-1).