GAA Football

Back in the day - on February 23, 1997: Crossmaglen see off holders Laune Rangers to book All-Ireland final date with Knockmore

Tony McEntee scored Crossmaglen’s last point in the south Armagh club’s thrilling victory over Laune Rangers. Picture by Ann McManus

CROSSMAGLEN will meet Connacht champions Knockmore in the AIB All-Ireland Club final on St Patrick’s Day after edging out holders Laune Rangers 1-8 to 1-7 in a thrilling match at Portlaoise.

It was a 50-50 encounter with Cross playing some superb football in the first half and Joe Kernan’s players must have been bemused to be 1-4 to 0-3 behind at the interval.

A series of Laune misses after the break seemed to inspire the Ulster champions. On 55 minutes Cathal Short lobbed over a superb equaliser. Suddenly Laune looked vulnerable and Cross sensed that their dream run was to continue.

With a minute of normal time left Oisin McConville, who had been stifled to a large extent by Mike Hassett, blasted over a magnificent score to edge Cross ahead.

Seconds later with Laune shell-shocked Tony McEntee extended the advantage. The McEntee score was to prove vital as Timmy Fleming pointed a free for the Kerry side in injury time.

Crossmaglen: Jarlath McConville, M Caliss, D Murtagh, P McKeown, J Fitzpatrick, F Bellew, G McShane, J McEntee, A Cunningham, C Short (0-2), T McEntee (0-2), O McConville (0-2), Jim McConville (1-1), G Cummiskey, C O’Neill (0-1). Sub: M Moley for Cummiskey (39 mins).

Laune Rangers: P Lyons, J Sheehan, P Sheehan, M O’Connor, M Hassett, T Byrne, B O’Shea, P Prendiville, T Fleming (0-2), G Murphy (0-1), M Russell (1-2), J Shannon, P Griffin (0-1), L Hassett (0-1), B O’Sullivan. Sub: P O’Sullivan for Shannon (24 mins).

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GEOFFREY McGonigle laid it on thick with some fine shoot-on-sight marksmanship from play in the first and third quarters as NHL Division Three promotion hopefuls Derry over-powered Ulster rivals Armagh at gale-lashed Celtic Park.

Dungiven’s deadly finisher displayed crisp control and pin-point accuracy to post seven superb singles, all from play, as Armagh’s determined opposition was crushed and out-classed by 16 points.

Derry: J Donaghy; J Young, C Murray, Padraig McEldowney; B Kelly, D Cassidy, N Mullan; Paddy McEldowney (0-1), C McGurk; D Kelly (0-1), O Collins (capt, 0-5), S McCartney (1-0); C McEldowney, G McGonigle (0-7, all from play), Gregory Biggs (0-1). Subs: P Doherty for Young (38 mins), J O’Dwyer (0-3) for McCartney (40 mins), Gary Biggs for C McEldowney (56 mins).

Armagh: M Murphy, N Trainor, S Hughes (capt.), T Moore; J Mone, S McConnell (0-1), PC Gormley; M Lennon, E McKee (0-4, all frees); S Kirk, P Lappin, V Mone; N McCann, D Short, M Grimes. Subs: S Haughey for Trainor (43mins), M Burke for Moore (48 mins).

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DOWN showed greater enterprise and teamwork in this very competitive senior football challenge game against Derry in Gerry Brown Park, Newry.

Down’s supremacy at midfield through Conor Deegan and Jarlath Austin over Anthony Tohill and Dermot Dougan laid the foundations for their victory.

Down: P Travers; F Caulfield (0-1), M McEvoy, L Howlett; C Murray, R Sharvin, G McFerran; J Austin (0-2), C Deegan; T McMahon, J Treanor (0-1), C P McCartan; G Mason (0-1), A Farrell, A McGivern. Subs: S Caulfield (0-1) for A McGivern; C McCabe (0-1) for A Farrell; G Deegan (0-1) for G Mason; D Flynn for L Howlett; R Carr for D Flynn; M Linden for T McMahon (all in second half).

Derry: J Kelly; E McKeever, J McBride, K Bryson; S Lockhart, D O’Neill, K Diamond; A Tohill, D Dougan; R Boylan, D Heaney, K Heaney; E Gormley (0-2), B McCormack (0-1), R Rocks (0-2). Subs: S McLarnon (0-1) for K Heaney; E O’Kane for D Dougan; D Hassan for J Kelly.

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Vinnie Jones acknowledges the crowd after scoring the winner against Arsenal at Highbury

WIMBLEDON boss Joe Kinnear watched his team surge into sixth place in the Premiership with a 1-0 away victory over Arsenal and then admitted: “Only now do I feel safe from relegation!”

At the start of the season Kinnear had set 42 points as a target for his side to avoid the drop, but such has been their form they are now pushing for a place in Europe.

Vinnie Jones rifled a volley past John Lukic to give the Dons victory over their London rivals at Highbury, and enabled them to hit their manager’s target.

Afterwards Kinnear said: “We have 42 points now and I feel safe. It could have been about 5-4 with the amount of chances both sides created but I think we just shaded it.

“We had to re-organise after Leonhardsen and Vinnie went off and ended with seven home-grown lads on the pitch. They have pleased me all season because they are very passionate about the club.”

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