Saturday 1 October 2016

McConville: Cross' appetite for glory still unsated

Published 07/10/2015 | 02:30

Oisin McConville: 'We have been hit hard with injuries over the past few months, but something that is great for clearing up injuries is a county final'
Oisin McConville: 'We have been hit hard with injuries over the past few months, but something that is great for clearing up injuries is a county final'

Nineteen out of 20 sounds more like a spelling test result than a roll of honour but that's what Crossmaglen are going for in Armagh this weekend.

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The scale of their success has long since moved past anything that is imaginable for the rest of us.

On Sunday, veteran goalkeeper Paul Hearty is going in search of his 19th county medal as a player. To put that in context, consider that this weekend's opponents Armagh Harps have won 20 titles in their history and, after Cross', are the most decorated club in the county.

Oisin McConville is the man in charge, along with John McEntee.

Cross' are a different side now. Their team isn't packed with household names anymore and it will look even less familiar if Aaron Kernan misses out through injury. Still the trophies keep coming.

"We have been hit hard with injuries over the past few months, but something that is great for clearing up injuries is a county final," McConville joked.

"There's a lot of lads who have a lot of miles on the clock. Aaron is our biggest doubt at the minute, we're not sure if he'll make it.

"From the outside looking in, people might think that a county championship isn't celebrated in Cross' but that's not how it is.

"People realise it's a special thing. The only difference is the celebrations don't spill into the Monday and the Tuesday."

McConville has always maintained the club work hard for their success. Over the past couple of seasons "one or two" new faces from the underage ranks have been drafted in but in the past fortnight, he's drafted in eight of the club's minor team that won the county title.

"A lot of the lads on the panel now wouldn't have been on particularly successful sides, but these lads won a lot, Ulster U-16 titles and the likes.

"It's sort of club policy to let them finish out their championship first before we take them. But it's good to have them involved. It means we can have big training games. It's done with one eye on the future, but there's a couple of them that can be involved in the next few weeks."

Their date with Armagh Harps is a repeat of last year's final, and Cross' won that convincingly.

"In the final last year (Harps) started well but they just didn't kick the ball over the bar," warned McConville.

"I suppose this time around the nerves and build up and everything that goes with a county final won't be an issue for them this time. We have to go out and perform."

Irish Independent

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