Wednesday 13 November 2019

McManus hails McEntee's professionalism after bittersweet win over Crossmaglen

Ulster SFC quarter-final: Clontibret 0-10 Crossmaglen 0-9

Facing the enemy: Crossmaglen’s Oisin O’Neill tries to find a way past Conor Boyle of Clontibret in the Athletic Grounds. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Facing the enemy: Crossmaglen’s Oisin O’Neill tries to find a way past Conor Boyle of Clontibret in the Athletic Grounds. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

An emotional and difficult night for Clontibret manager and Crossmaglen legend John McEntee ended in him claiming the one scalp he never wanted to take.

Beating the club with whom he won so many Armagh, Ulster and All-Ireland titles as a player and managed to their last provincial title in 2015 was the ultimate nightmare scenario, yet Conor McManus revealed that he never shirked his responsibilities.

"It was a difficult one for John," said McManus, who top-scored with six points in the Athletic Grounds on Saturday night. "You kind of felt for him to an extent. Crossmaglen is everything to John McEntee, and everyone knows that, but we have to commend him because he done his job and he didn't shirk that.

"This would have been in his head for a few weeks, knowing the Monaghan champions were going to play the Armagh champions, but he did his job as professionally as he could do.

"John knows these boys all their lives, he's watched them and trained them, but he'll be thankful it's over now and we can move on," he added.

Clontibret bossed the first half and led 0-7 to 0-3 at the break, Michael P O'Dowd and Pauric Boyle each scoring twice from play. McManus scored the outstanding point of the game, early on off his left while off balance and running away from the posts.

Dessie Mone of Clontibret O'Neills in action against Oisin O'Neill of Crossmaglen Rangers. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Dessie Mone of Clontibret O'Neills in action against Oisin O'Neill of Crossmaglen Rangers. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Cross' didn't score from play until the 26th minute - through Kyle Carragher - and were left to rue a total of 13 wides, including seven in the first half.

The expected Cross' response came in the second half and they closed to within a point, scoring three of the last four points, but Clontibret's defence held out and survived an aerial bombardment into their square.

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"We withstood it to an extent, but we missed chances and I missed a goal chance (saved by Tiernan McConville) which would have put the game to bed.

"But the boys showed good character there and the defence stood up strong," added McManus.

Michael P O'Dowd of Clontibret O'Neills in action against Callum Cumiskey of Crossmaglen Rangers. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Michael P O'Dowd of Clontibret O'Neills in action against Callum Cumiskey of Crossmaglen Rangers. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Scorers - Clontibret: C McManus 0-6 (5f); P Boyle, MP O'Dowd 0-2 each. Crossmaglen: R O'Neill 0-3 (2f); O O'Neill 0-2 (1f); K Carragher, T Kernan, P Hughes, A Kernan (f) 0-1 each.

Clontibret - D McDonnell; C Doyle, C Boyle, L Savage; J Gormley, D Mone, C Greenan; F Hughes, K Lavelle; D Savage, M P O'Dowd, B Greenan; P Boyle, Vinnie Corey, C McManus. Subs: Darragh for Hughes for P Boyle (48), Kiernan Greenan for Hughes (60), Eoin McGuigan for Savage (60).

Crossmaglen - T McConville; P Hughes, R Kelly, P McKeown; A Kernan, C Cumiskey, C Crowley; S Morris, A Farrelly; J Hanratty, O O'Neill, C O'Connor; C McConville, R O'Neill, K Carragher. Subs: T Kernan for Hanratty (h-t), P Stuttard for McKeown (h-t), M Boyce for Farrelly (43), J McKeever for O'Connor (50).

Ref - S Hurson (Tyrone)

Dessie Mone of Clontibret O'Neills in action against Oisin O'Neill of Crossmaglen Rangers. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Dessie Mone of Clontibret O'Neills in action against Oisin O'Neill of Crossmaglen Rangers. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

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