Tuesday 12 December 2017

'You can build barracks here, you can land helicopters but f**k you, we are going to win an All-Ireland'

Will Slattery

Will Slattery

A riveting documentary has revealed the passion and drive that has made Crossmaglen Rangers one of the most successful GAA club sides ever.

True North: Crossmaglen Field of Dreams charts two seasons with the club under the management of Armagh legends John McEntee and Oisin McConville and touches on topics like the Troubles, military occupation of Crossmaglen, life in rural Ireland, and of course, football.

Crossmaglen have won six All-Ireland club football titles since 1997 and were semi-finalists in the competition this year.

The star of the one-hour program was McConville, who speaks openly about life in Crossmaglen and how it drove the side to success.

"You can build your barracks here, you can land your helicopters here but f**k you, we are going to win an All-Ireland," McConville said, referring to the army base that was constructed overlooking the Crossmaglen ground.

The joint-manager also revealed that he was suicidal while struggling with his gambling addiction and that he was scared 'shitless' about ever getting involved with the IRA.

McConville's mother Margaret best sums up the club's ethos about football, and how it dominates the lives of people who live in Crossmaglen.

"It's a way of life. Always has been and will be 'til I pass out one day," she said.

"If I didn't have the GAA to look forward to I don't know what I'd have. I might not be here at all. It is that important, it is life and death."

There is plenty of interesting moments that grab your attention, from a British soldier returning to Crossmaglen and shaking hands with McConville to star forward Jamie Clarke's shock decision to leave the panel and go travelling.

"There is a lot more to me than living in rural Ireland," Clarke says.

"It is not that I don't fit in here, just that I don't want to."

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