Ross McQuillan (Cullyhanna)
I think it will be a close game as both sides have the forwards to put up big scores. Hard to look past Cross with the experience they have in finals and big games at this level. I just think that will get them over the line but I wouldn’t be surprised if it went either way, if Clann Eireann get their match ups right. Prediction, Cross narrowly.
Niall McConville (St Peter’s)
It’s a really interesting game and a tough one to call. Crossmaglen have been steadily improving throughout the championship and with a full team available they are a formidable outfit. Clann Eireann have got here the hard way taking out Maghery and Ballymacnab.
They have a strong defensive system and some real threat going forward on the counter. There’s a feeling here locally since they got through the Maghery game that they could go the full way.
Clann Eireann will need goals as Cross are likely to kick 15 points plus. It’s going to be a tough ask, but if they stick to the plan they have been working to and get their match ups right I think they might just scrape it. Clann Eireann win by 2 points.
Conor McGivern (Ballymacnab)
I’ve a feeling Clann Eireann can pull off a shock here. They look to be a well drilled side and have a strong spine that should be able to go toe-to-toe with Cross’ main men.
Obviously a lot is going to ride on how much of an influence Rian can have on the game. It’s an impossible task to completely shut him down at this stage, but Clann Eireann might have the best equipped player in the county at the minute to try and limit his influence in Barry McCambridge. If he can break even in that match up then Clann Eireann should be in with a chance.
Cross will likely put up their usual 18 points, so I think Clann Eireann will need a few goals to beat them. But with the quality they have up front and their strong runners from deep they’ll definitely create the chances. Clann Eireann by 2.
Lee Rice (Killeavy)
The game will definitely be a tight and hard fought game. It’s hard to know what way Clann Eireann are going to set up, but to me if they can play direct football with speed and also win the midfield battle, they have a very good chance to go all the way. Cross, on paper will have the upper hand, as they have been in this position many times before.
They will also have that hurt and hunger installed in them from last years final too, which will make them even more motivated and determined.
Saying that though, I think Clann Eireann are not a team that any team can take lightly, as they have the players who can hurt defences and score crucial scores when it comes down to the wire. To me, I believe Clann Eireann can cross the line against a strong and powerful Cross team, but definitely not by much!
Brendan Haveron (Maghery)
I think this years final will be a great game with some eye-catching battles taking place throughout the pitch. The pace and fitness of Clann Eireann will ask some serious questions along with their squad depth where anyone can come up with a score.
I think it will be tightly contested but the experience of playing in county finals and their range of scoring will get Crossmaglen through in the end. Crossmaglen by 2 points.
Barry Mallon (Madden)
Clann Eireann have proved how dangerous they are. They have players and a style that can hurt Crossmaglen and the way they’ve been winning tight games will give them massive confidence. Having said all that I think the talent in Crossmaglen’s spine plus their leadership will be able to get them over the line this time. It should be an exciting matchup.
Cathal McKenna (Grange)
I think this is going to be a very good encounter. Both teams have youth and experience to their sides. Having played Clann Eireann twice this year, they are very well drilled, quick coming out from the back and have a very dangerous forward line.
But watching Crossmaglen they seemed to have improve each game in the championship. They will be hungry after last years defeat by Maghery. If Clann Eireann can stop Rian and Oisin O’Neill then I think they will take them. But I’m going to take Cross by 2.