Crossmaglen 1-9 Derrynoose 0-11
Saturday night proved another hard luck story for Derrynoose as the lost out to Crossmaglen by one-point.
Brian Hamilton’s men were the better team on the night, but their wastefulness in front of the posts proved costly.
Crossmaglen struggled with their kicking game, as Paddy Kelly cut out several passes in the Derrynoose defence.
But the Rangers had their old-reliable, Johnny Hanratty, to call on. An impact sub, Hanratty fired over a super score and set up another to win the game.
Paul McKeown and Johnny McKeever came into the game well in the dying minutes to drag their side over the line.
The main difference between the teams came down to shot accuracy. Crossmaglen took their chances and Derrynoose didn’t.
Points from Davy McCreesh and Conor McNally (2) had the underdogs ahead 3-2 just before Cross shot into the lead prior to the interval.
Johnny McKeever spotted an unmarked Colin O’Connor inside the ‘D’. The pacy attacker played through Eoin Keenan who slotted the ball low to the net.
That goal sent Gareth O’Neill’s charges one-point ahead as the half time whistle sounded, 1-2 to 0-4.
Derrynoose created some glorious goal chances of their own in the second period but failed to rattle the net.
Oisin McNally opted for a point moments after being introduced, while his older cousin Conor also missed a fine chance.
Conor McNally won’t take any of the blame for the lost however. He was in super form in the Derrynoose attack.
The 2019 Junior Footballer of the Year nailed 0-6 and constantly brought the fight to the opposition.
It just wasn’t enough on the night. The Junior A league champions march on to the Championship final against Belleek, which takes place in two weeks’ time.
Crossmaglen II Scorers: Eoin Keenan 1-1 (1f), Shane McConville 0-3 (1f), Johnny McKeever 0-2, Paul McKeown 0-1, Colin O’Connor 0-1, Johnny McKeever 0-1.
Derrynoose Scorers: Conor McNally 0-6 (5f), Pearse Lennon 0-2, Davy McCreesh 0-1, Mark Lennon 0-1, Oisin McNally 0-1.
Belleek 2-11 Dorsey 1-11
These two rivals played out one of the games of the championship, which went right down to the wire.
James McParland swung over three important frees near the end while Cashel Toner put the final nail in the Dorsey coffin.
The Emmets, togged out in white Mullaghbawn jerseys to avoid a clash, fought hard to cause an upset.
It was an uphill task as Belleek shot into a 1-4 to 0-1 lead before the first water break. Drew McVerry nabbing a super goal.
Dorsey fought back brilliantly in the second quarter as Belleek began to collapse. They lost their inspirational leader Callum O’Neill, who picked up a nasty shoulder injury.
O’Neill’s was the one making them tick and kicked a fine score as well.
Not only that, but it allowed Dorsey to dominate the middle, with Conor Moley particularly hurting Belleek with his lung-bursting runs through the heart of their defence.
He was eventually stopped in his tracks, illegally, inside the square. Paudie Cumiskey stepped up to smash home a goal from the spot.
An Aidan Mackin free completed the sensational second quarter turnaround and sent his side 1-7 to 1-6 ahead at the break.
It was nip and tuck in the second period, but Dorsey drove on to go four in front with just over ten minutes remaining.
McParland came into his own and along with McCreesh, they levelled the score with their dead ball accuracy.
Now with all the momentum, Belleek struck the killer blow through substitute Toner. That proved the final action and Dorsey will count themselves unlucky not to have gotten something from the game.