Clarke strike sparks Cross cakewalk
Crossmaglen Rangers 3-9 St Gall's 2-5
The Halloween fireworks expected from the clash of Crossmaglen and St Gall's at Casement Park never materialised yesterday, as the reigning All-Ireland champions sped to a victory that was more comfortable than the seven-point margin might suggest.
The game was littered with fouls as Cavan referee Joe McQuillan flashed 10 yellow cards and one red -- a harsh second yellow card to St Gall's CJ McGourty one minute from time.
Cross shot out of the blocks, storming into a 1-4 to 0-1 lead after 20 minutes. The goal, the first score of the match, was knocked home by Jamie Clarke on 10 minutes after a centre from Tony Kernan was fumbled and Cross led by 1-5 to 0-2 at half-time.
The second half had an explosive start with the Rangers all but wrapping up victory inside two minutes. After a defence splitting move, Cunningham blasted to the St Gall's net from a Clarke assist on 30 seconds.
The cheers hadn't died down when the green flag went up again as veteran Oisin McConville was hauled down for a penalty, which he blasted home to leave the winners 3-5 to 0-2 ahead.
Michael Pollock ghosted in for a goal and Karl Stewart finished another O'Hare lob to the net the to cut the margin to 3-7 to 2-3. Stewart had another goal chance but blasted over before Tony Kernan finished the scoring from a '45.
SCORERS -- Crossmaglen: A Cunningham 1-1, A Kernan 0-3 (2f), J Clarke, O McConville (pen) 1-0 each, S Finnegan, J Hanratty, D McKenna, T Kernan ('45), S Kernan 0-1 each. St Gall's: K Stewart 1-1, M Pollock 1-0, CJ McGourty 0-3 (2f), K Niblock 0-1.
CROSSMAGLEN -- P Hearty; J Morgan, P Kernan, P McKeown; A Kernan, D O'Callaghan, S Finnegan; J Hanratty, D McKenna; T Kernan, S Kernan, A Cunningham; J Clarke, F Hanratty, M McNamee. Subs: B McKeown for P Kernan (28), O McConville for F Hanratty (h-t), K Brennan for McNamee (39), M Aherne for J Hanratty (51), M Lenaghan for Cunningham (65).
ST GALL'S -- R Gallagher; D Harbinson, C Brady, P Veronica; M Kelly, A McClean, S Kelly; D O'Hare, S Burke; T O'Neill, A Healy, K McGourty; CJ McGourty, K Niblock, M Pollock. Subs: K Stewart for O'Neill (42), M McGowan for Healy (51), S McAreavey for Burke (61).
REF -- J McQuillan (Cavan)