Crossmaglen made no mistake at the second attempt as they strode to a sixth All-Ireland title with a convincing replay win at Breffni Park. Two-goal Francis Hanratty was the main man, but another masterclass from former Armagh star Oisin McConville illuminated a one-sided replay.
The hunger, bite and killer instinct that had been strangely absent at Croke Park a fortnight earlier returned to fire Rangers to another famous victory. Faster to the ball, sharp in the tackle and creative in possession, Rangers had already made a statement by the time Hanratty slotted home their first goal after five minutes, finishing with assurance from Jamie Clarke's superb pass.
Dessie Dolan, despite the close attentions of marker James Morgan, was able to plunder a couple of quality scores from play, but Cross tightened their grip on the contest as each minute passed. Clarke, Tony Kernan and McConville all found the target to stretch their lead, while Hanratty, a late call-up, was at the centre of all their attacking endeavour.
He helped himself to a second goal in the 18th minute, another incisive finish after Aaron Kernan had sliced through the Garrycastle defence. Veteran McConville added three more points to his tally late in the first half, and at the interval, the reigning champions held a commanding 2-8 to 0-4 lead.
Dessie Dolan set up a goal for brother Gary two minutes into the second half, and substitute Conor Cosgrove converted a couple of frees, but Cross were able to hit back with scores from Aaron and Stephen Kernan and Hanratty.
McConville displayed his class with two wonderful scores from play, while skipper Stephen Kernan, who missed the drawn game through suspension, also swept over two sweet efforts.
Scorers -- Crossmaglen: F Hanratty 2-1, O McConville 0-6 (2f), S Kernan, A Kernan (2f)
0-3 each, A Cunningham 0-2, J Hanratty, T Kernan, J Clarke, K Carragher 0-1 each. Garrycastle: G Dolan 1-0, D Dolan 0-4 (2f), C Cosgrove 0-2f, D O'Shaughnessy 0-1.
Crossmaglen: P Hearty; J Morgan, P Kernan, P McKeown; A Kernan, D O'Callaghan, S Finnegan; J Hanratty, D McKenna; T Kernan, K Brennan, A Cunningham; J Clarke, F Hanratty, O McConville. Subs: M McNamee for F Hanratty, M Aherne for T Kernan, K Carragher for Cunningham, G Carragher for P Kernan, K Brenann for McConville.
Garrycastle: C Mullin; M McCallon, J Gaffey, T McHugh; K Henson, D Harte, E Mulvihill; S O'Donoghue, D O'Shaughnessy; P Dillon, D Dolan, J Dolan; G Dolan, P Mulvihill, J Duignan. Subs: A Fox for McHugh, A Browne for Duignan, C Cosgrove for Dillon, J O'Shaughnessy for E Mulvihill.
Referee: M Duffy (Sligo)
Nenagh edge out Kilkenny
Nenagh CBS 3-10
Kilkenny CBS 2-11
Nenagh CBS claimed their first title with a deserved victory at Semple Stadium, Thurles yesterday.
Captain Jason Forde was once again to the fore for Nenagh, scoring 2-2, and he was backed up by an outstanding team performance with Sean Geaney, Jack Peters, Jack Flaherty, Tadhg Gallagher and James Mackey producing notable displays.
Kilkenny CBS will be disappointed that they failed to build on their strong start with Philly Campion opening the scoring, followed by a fourth minute Shane Cuddihy goal.
Scorers -- Nenagh: J Forde 2-2 (0-2f), J Mackey 0-3, P Fogarty 1-0, S O'Brien, K Gleeson 0-2 each, S Geaney 0-1 each.
Kilkenny: M Clifford 0-4, O McGrath 0-3f, S Cuddihy, N Mullins 1-0 each, P Campion, E Fennelly, K Kenny, R Buckley 0-1 each.
Referee: C McAllister (Cork)
Sunday Indo Sport