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Tough Test in Crossmaglen

posted 15 Apr 2012, 13:01 by Unknown user   [ updated 3 Jul 2012, 11:54 ]

Crossmaglen 4-13 Sarsfields 1-13

Anyone in the Sarsfields who were unsure as to what they would be up against were given a fair indication when they saw Crossmaglen’s three championship trophies proudly on display on the pitch. For the Highmoss playing the Cross in their first game as All Ireland Club Champions is becoming something of a ritual and the Sarsfields players and management rightfully formed a guard of honour and applauded the champions on to the park.

Sarsfields were missing Michael Stevenson who had scored 1-08 when Sarsfields had defeated Crossmaglen in the corresponding fixture last season. Gary Creaney had come in for Michael Stevenson and Johnny Niblock came into the half back line for his first competitive match in the Hoops jersey.

Early in the match the home side hit over their opening point with ease and before the kick-out Peter Stevenson had to come off injured and was replaced with Patrick Stevenson. Crossmaglen added their second and third points and they had come from Sarsfields losing possession going forward. A moment later Cross had their first goal and it was just a demonstration of their clinical forward line. Less than five minutes later the Rangers added a second goal and it was looking pretty bleak from a Sarsfields perspective. However Sarsfields chalked a couple of points up through Richie Stevenson and Mark Reynolds. Cross replied with a point and Richie Stevenson quickly cancelled that score from a free. However in a five minute spell the home side hit 2-02 to give them a fifteen point lead. Darran McAvoy made a great initial save for the first goal but couldn’t prevent the follow up shot. Sarsfields battled to the end of the first half and created chances. Thomas McAlinden almost found the net sending the ball in across the square from the left and as the ball was just skimming wide Paul McGeown was unlucky not to get the touch that would surely have hit the net. This miss was immediately punished by the fourth goal for Crossmaglen. However Sarsfields came straight back and Eimeíd Murray was rewarded after collecting a Paul McGeown pass, running at the Cross defence and showing good persistence to get a goal after the ball rebounded twice into his path.

Points were exchanged in the second half but crucially for the Highmoss they were able to knock over five points without reply, though just one of these scores was from play. The Highmoss though had to rely on superb work from Darran McAvoy and excellent goal line clearances from Paul Magee and Ciaran Kerr. Cross added a couple of points and Richie Stevenson and Eamon McGeown tagged on two decent points from play. Crossmaglen were denied another goal chance by Stefan Green on the line, however they did add a couple of points. Richie Stevenson had a decent goal chance to finish out the match, but unluckily saw his effort rise over the bar. In fairness Crossmaglen had introduced some substitutes, taking off their more experienced players, but it still had been a spirited second half performance from Sarsfields.