Saturday 10 December 2016

Crossmaglen manager Oisin McConville denies biting allegations against one of his players

Crossmaglen 2-15 Cargin 0-13

Orla Bannon

Published 02/11/2015 | 02:30

Cargin's Kevin O'Boyle challenges Crossmaglen's Kyle Carragher during the AIB Ulster GAA Senior Club Football Championship, Quarter-Finals
Cargin's Kevin O'Boyle challenges Crossmaglen's Kyle Carragher during the AIB Ulster GAA Senior Club Football Championship, Quarter-Finals
Crossmaglen Rangers' Rico Kelly in action against John Carron, Erins Own Cargin during the AIB Ulster GAA Senior Club Football Championship, Quarter-Finals
James Morgan, Crossmaglen Rangers, in action against Gerard McCann, Erins Own Cargin in the AIB Ulster GAA Senior Club Football Championship, Quarter-Finals at the Athletics Grounds, Armagh

Crossmaglen manager Oisin McConville has denied allegations that one of his players bit Cargin midfielder Michael McCann during yesterday's Ulster football clash in the Athletic Grounds.

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The Antrim champions claim a 36th-minute brawl in the Athletic Grounds, which involved around a dozen players, erupted because of a biting incident.

But, speaking on RTE Radio's Morning Ireland, McConville denied the accusations.

He said: “All we can really do is ask. These sort of incidents are very hard to prove and are very hard to see. We’re happy that such an incident did not happen.

“We wouldn’t condone anything like that. It’s not the way we play football. We haven’t been associated with this stuff before.

“It wouldn’t be something as a management team we’d be condoning and as a club it’s not something we would want happening.”

1 November 2015; Mel Boyce, from Crossmaglen Rangers, celebrates with six year old Cormac McEntee after the game. AIB Ulster GAA Senior Club Football Championship, Quarter-Finals, Crossmaglen Rangers v Erins Own Cargin. Athletics Grounds, Armagh. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
1 November 2015; Mel Boyce, from Crossmaglen Rangers, celebrates with six year old Cormac McEntee after the game. AIB Ulster GAA Senior Club Football Championship, Quarter-Finals, Crossmaglen Rangers v Erins Own Cargin. Athletics Grounds, Armagh. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Cargin manager John Brennan said he did not see what happened but was informed about an incident by some of his players.

"One of our players, Michael McCann, was reportedly bitten," he explained. "I didn't see it, I was too far away, but some of our players were very aggrieved about it and Michael has a mark on his neck."

Crossmaglen were leading 0-10 to 0-8 when tempers flared and it took a minute for order to be restored.

Referee Joe McQuillan subsequently booked a player from each side.

Antrim star Gerard McCann was later sent off after picking up a second yellow card in the 52nd minute, a dismissal which took the sting out of Cargin.

Second-half goals from Johnny Murtagh and Johnny Hanratty were crucial in the Armagh kingpins securing a first Ulster championship victory since 2012.

Beaten at this stage by Kilcoo and Omagh in the last two years, the six-time All-Ireland winners looked nervous early on and trailed by 0-4 to 0-1 after eight minutes, with Ciaran Close and Michael Magill hugely influential up front for Cargin.

Crossmaglen moved Rico Kelly from full-forward to midfield - a switch that quickly yielded dividends as they began to establish a foothold.

McCann was on target from 40 metres to put Cargin 0-7 to 0-4 ahead in the 28th minute but Crossmaglen, so used to these situations, finished the first half brilliantly with three quick points.

Frees from Aaron and Tony Kernan reduced the gap and in stoppage-time, Mickey McNamee capitalised on a poor kick-out and scored from close range.

Cargin should have been ahead, but Cross had the momentum now. Within seconds of the restart, Aaron Kernan popped over a free to put his team in front for the first time.

His brother Tony converted a '45' to put them two points clear before tensions boiled over.

Crossmaglen settled quicker after the spat and when Cargin lost possession around their own '45', Murtagh ran through and his fierce shot left the keeper with no chance, giving Cross a 1-10 to 0-8 lead.

Joint-manager Oisin McConville was unhappy about some aspects of his team's performance but described their play in the opening 10 minutes of the second half as "some of the best football we have played all year".

Cargin refused to buckle, however, and Magill led the fightback with another '45' and a superb score from the wing.

They were back within a score, trailing 1-13 to 0-13, but the comeback was halted by McCann's 52nd-minute dismissal.

They mounted one last attack but James Laverty's shot across goal flashed just wide.

Crossmaglen sub Oisin O'Neill scored 0-3 in the last quarter and with a minute to go, Stephen Kernan's clever low pass set up Hanratty for a second goal.

Scorers - Crossmaglen: T Kernan 0-4 (2fs, 1 '45'), J Hanratty 1-1, J Murtagh 1-0, A Kernan (2fs), O O'Neill 0-3 each, S Kernan, M McNamee 0-2 each. Cargin: M Magill 0-5 (2 '45s'), C Close 0-3 (1f), M McCann, T McCann (1f) 0-2 each, T Scullion 0-1.

CROSSMAGLEN - P Hearty; P Hughes, A Rushe, P McKeown; S Finnegan, M Aherne, J Morgan; J Hanratty, A Kernan; M McNamee, S Kernan, T Kernan; J Murtagh, R Kelly, K Carragher. Subs: G Carragher for Finnegan (29), O O'Neill (0-3) for Murtagh (41), A Cunningham for Kelly (50), P Stuttard for McNamee (53), K Brennan for K Carragher (56).

CARGIN - C O'Reilly; M Kane, J Laverty, K O'Boyle; T Scullion, J Crozier, J Carron; M McCann, G McCann; P McCann, T McCann, E McGrogan; R McKernan, C Close, M Magill. Subs: M Kelly for McGrogan (38), B Laverty for P McCann (41), M Clarke for T McCann (55).

REF - J McQuillan (Cavan).

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