Crossmaglen 0-12 Coalisland Fianna 0-10
O’Neill brothers Oisin and Rian kicked Crossmaglen into the semi-finals of the Ulster Club Championship after ousting Tyrone rivals Coalisland.
It wasn’t a dirty contest but both teams finished the game with 13 players apiece along with 11 yellow cards being issued.
Played in the Athletic Grounds, Coalisland were given a mountain to climb when they were reduced to 13 men after having Brian Toner and Eoghan Hampsey sent off within a minute of each other in the first period.
Toner was shown the red card after receiving two bookings, while Hampsey was given his marching order after an off-the-ball incident.
It wasn’t the swashbuckling Crossmaglen that had racked up over 20-points in their county championship semi-final and final.
For a start the Coalisland defence that boasted recent All-Star recipient Padraig Hampsey and Michael McKernan, who was an All-Star and Young GAA Player of the Year, were out in front of their men and Crossmaglen’s passing was poor.
A point from Johnny McKeever gave Rangers the lead before Patrick McNiece levelled the score with his first of four converted points in the opening half.
The lively Bailey Leonard and Mickey McNamee traded scores before two Cross points within 30 seconds, which included Rian O’Neill’s converted 45’ and a fine Stephen Morris finish, put the Armagh Champions back in front. Another McNiece free closed the gap before referee Martin McNally, with the help of his linesmen and umpires issued the two reds.
Rian O’Neill’s converted free almost went unnoticed as most of the 7,637 crowd were trying to fathom the decisions by referee, but Coalisland hit back with two more frees from McNiece.
However, Rian O’Neill’s converted free gave Rangers the edge at the break.
Stephen McNally pointed within 30 seconds of the restart and eight minutes later Coalisland took the lead with McNiece converting another free.
By that stage Cumiskey picked up his second yellow and Cross were down to 14 men and before there was another score Hanratty also picked up a second yellow card to leave the teams at 13 players apiece with 45 minutes played.
O’Neill brothers Rian and Oisin weighed in with points but McNiece converted his sixth free to level the scores again. Oisin O’Neill’s monster long range point edged Cross ahead again but McNeice’s converted free levelled the score for the seventh time as extra-time loomed.
However, both sides displayed nerves as they missed the target before the O’Neill brothers delivered the goods with three more points to see Rangers over the line.
McNeice had the last say but his eighth converted free mattered little as Cross await the winners of Gweedore and Cargin, who play on Sunday.
Crossmaglen: Jamie McEvoy, Rico Kelly, Alan Farrelly, Garbhan Carragher, Aaron Kernan, James Morgan, Paul Hughes, Stephen Morris (0-1), Oisin O’Neill (0-2), Johnny McKeever (0-1), Rian O’Neill (0-7, 45’, 2 frees), CStuttard, Mickey McNamee (0-1), Johnny Hanratty, Kyle Carragher.
Subs used: Callum Cumiskey for Stuttard (7’), Cian McConville for McNamee (ht’), Tony Kernan for McKeever 47’,
Coalisland : Peter Donnelly, Daniel Fee, Padraig Hampsey, Eoghan Hampsey, Michael McKernan, Stephen McNally (0-1), Niall Kerr, Jason Carberry, Plunket Kane, Peter Herron, Cormac O’Hagan, Peter McGahan, Bailey Leonard (0-1), Patrick McNiece (0-8, 8 frees), Brian Toner.
Subs used: Tiernan Quinn for McGahan (47’),