By Shaun Casey
GRANEMORE created history last weekend as their seven-point victory over Killeavy saw them qualify for their first ever Armagh Senior Championship decider.
Two late goals from substitute Tony McClelland and Odhran Doyle, along with six points from captain and top marksman Jason O’Neill paved the way to victory.
“It is absolutely brilliant; it has been a difficult year as at the start of the year we were missing nine or ten starters from last year’s championship for one reason or another,” said Granemore boss and Warrenpoint native Niall McAleenan.
“I’d say after seven (league) games they were wondering what have they done taking this Down man in, because we had only one point on the board.
“We were looking like relegation but we finally got boys back on board and we had to win real dogfights against Dromintee and away to Madden, where Marty Carr kicked one at the end to win it, and since that there has been a wee bit of belief come into the team.
“And this is our 112th time meeting up this year and there has been a huge amount of work went in. Granemore is a great community club and driven by (chairman) Pete Carr and we have really tried to push on as best we can.
“Today we knew it was going to be a difficult game against Killeavy who were very unlucky not to win the league. I am hugely delighted but it is not about me, it is about what them fellas have put in all year, the management team and everyone has put in a big shift, and we are delighted to have gotten into the final.”
They’ll meet Crossmaglen in the showpiece as the Rangers saw off Maghery with ease to book their spot in the final for the fifth consecutive year.
“We have seen what Cross did to Maghery the other night and it is going to be a huge, huge test against probably the best club team in Ireland,” added McAleenan.
“It was one of those nights where Crossmaglen were absolutely outstanding, and they could do no wrong. The game was probably over after 10 or 12 minutes in a game that lots of people thought would have been a tight game.
“Crossmaglen, they’re an absolutely brilliant team with marquee forwards and quality all over the park so it’s going to be really difficult to try and counteract that.”