By Shaun Casey
CROSSMAGLEN have and will always play football on the front foot and Sunday’s championship decider against Granemore was no different.
Player of the Match Cian McConville is another addition to the list of star forwards the Rangers have produced in their rich history and his contribution of 0-8 was a huge factor in Cross getting their hands on the Gerry Fagan Cup after a two-year famine.
“That’s the way we want to play,” said McConville, who picked up his third championship medal. “We want to attack; we want to play front-foot football and we’re just delighted to get over the line playing that way because it can be hard at times with the way that teams set up. It’s really good to see that we can get over the line playing like that.
“I suppose our supporters don’t thank us for it all the time, sometimes it is heart-in-the-mouth stuff but it’s exciting to watch and I don’t think anyone could argue. We’re exciting to watch because we want to play on the front foot.
“People would have picked holes in us saying that because we were so front foot that we maybe neglected the defence at times but it’s a learning process.
“This is a whole new team so for them boys to be able to experience days like today, it’s great.”
McConville, son of Cross and Armagh legend Jim, is part of the new Crossmaglen team that are starting out on their own journey.
“It’s very special, this is my third championship (medal) but it’s the most special.
“This is a new team, there’s a lot of young boys playing here today and to just see them playing the way they did was great.
“I’m only 22 but I feel like one of the older ones already. We had a number of standout performers here today so anyone could have picked up that award (Man of the Match), I’m just delighted for all the boys to get over the line.”
“It’s brilliant for them, they just have to be shown that we can be this good.
“I think after the Maghery performance, we probably thought to ourselves, ‘you know what, maybe we are good enough to go the whole way.’ We did it here today.”
While it may be a somewhat new” Crossmaglen team, there are still some older heads knocking around and McConville has enjoyed playing with Jamie Clarke this season, who returned to the fold after a couple of years away.
“You wouldn’t be long learning something off Jamie because you just stand and watch him at times and think how does he do it?
“He’s excellent and from the moment he came into the team this year, whenever I heard he was coming in I was very excited because he adds something to us that maybe we didn’t have over the last few years.
“He’s been brilliant from he first came in. He trains hard, he’s brilliant to talk to, he’s a good leader so we’re delighted to have him, and he adds something different.”