Crossmaglen 1-14 Silverbridge 0-6
A second half Caolan Finnegan goal put the result beyond doubt as Crossmaglen booked their spot in their fourth county final in a row.
For a third year on the trot, they have halted Silverbridge’s progress in the championship.
Played on a wild and wet night in the Athletic Grounds, Cross used the elements better than their opponents.
Silverbridge, with the wind advantage in the opening half, needed to be in front by the short whistle. But Cian McConville and Rian O’Neill scores tied the game 0-3 apiece at half time.
With the breeze at their backs, Cross took control and comfortably made their way to the decider.
The Harps will rue some missed chances during the first 30 minute. None more so than a Sean Rock goal opportunity that was palmed over the bar.
Cross had their own near misses at the other end when Oisin O’Neill’s blistering effort bounced back off the crossbar.
Some heroic defending from Sean Garvey and co offered Silverbridge hope in the first half, but the flood gates opened after the turnaround.
Finnegan eventually raised a green flag, coming just before the water break to leave the scorer 1-7 to 0-5.
Tiernan Murphy claimed Silverbridge’s solitary point in the final quarter as the men in black and amber took control.
McConville and Rian O’Neill shared six points between them while Oisin O’Neill also got in on the scoring act.
Cross on back in the showpiece and will hope to right the wrongs of last season when Maghery clinched the Gerry Fegan Cup.
No doubt Stephen Kernan’s men are still carrying the hurt of 2020 and that has drove them on this season.
Crossmaglen Scorers: Cian McConville 0-6 (4f), Caolan Finnegan 1-1, Rian O’Neill 0-4 (3f), Oisin O’Neill 0-2 (1m), Stephen Morris.
Silverbridge Scorers: Eoin Reel 0-2 (2f), Fionnan Burns 0-1, Sean Rock 0-1, Ronan Reel 0-1 (1f), Tiernan Murphy 0-1.
Clann Eireann 3-11 Ballymacnab 2-12
Clann Eireann secured their spot in the senior final for the first time in 53 years after a titanic tussle with Ballymacnab.
Tommy Coleman’s men were the deserving winners, thanks to goals from Daniel Magee (2) and Barry McCambridge.
Ballymacnab fought back brilliantly with two goals of their own and a Rory Grugan free put them ahead for the first time in the 56th minute.
But the Lurgan side would have the final say. Their county men Tiernan Kelly (2) and Conor Turbitt nailing the final three scores of the game.
With the advantage of the breeze in the second period, Clann Eireann looked to run out easy winners following their third goal.
Magee’s low effort made six the margin but the Nab bounced back with aplomb moments later.
Rory Grugan’s delicate pass played through Pauric Gribben who slotted home his sides first major.
Gribben repaid the favour and turned provider, finding Rory Grugan who powered the ball to the bottom corner.
Two heroic scores from Jack Grugan helped sway the momentum in favour of the men in marron and white.
When Rory Grugan’s final score split the posts, it seemed Mick O’Dowd’s men had completed an outstanding comeback.
Clann Eireann rallied, and Kelly drew the sides level before edging his team into the lead once again.
They could have rattled the net for a fourth time but for a fine fingertips save from Conor McGivern.
They still stretched their lead however as ‘Turbo’ knocked over the resulting 45 for the final score of the game.
The final whistle was met with scenes of joy for Clann Eireann, as their up-and-coming team now seemed to have arrived.
They’ll have it all to do of course in the county final, but they can worry about that in three weeks’ time. For now, they can celebrate a historic moment and victory.