GAA Football

Magnificent Crossmaglen bring home 1997 All-Ireland football honours

Crossmaglen brothers Oisin and Jim McConville

March 17 1997: AIB All-Ireland Club Football Championship final at Croke Park

Crossmaglen (Armagh) ....................2-13 Knockmore (Mayo) ..........................0-11


Jarlath McConville: Made one fine save at the death to deny Knockmore substitute Tommy Holmes. Solid throughout and directed his kickouts very well. 8


M Calliff: Marked Padraig Brogan, Ray Dempsey and Shane Sweeney with equal efficiency during the hour. Made a number of vital interceptions. 8


D Murtagh: A magnificent display from the fullback. Snuffed out Ray Dempsey early on and contained Declan Sweeney in the second half. 9


P McKeown: Kevin O’Neill did score six points but nevertheless was well handled throughout by McKeown. 8


J Fitzpatrick: An excellent performance. Kept a tight rein on Shane Sweeney in the first half and then was able to handle substitute Tommy Holmes. 8


F Bellew: Another mature performance from the youngster. Gave Declan Sweeney little room in the first half and then had too much class for Peter Cawley in the second half. 8


G McShane: Grabbed a vital point early on which steadied Cross nerves. 8


J McEntee: Picked up so much loose ball around midfield and his passes to the two McConvilles were invariably accurate. Scored an excellent point before he went off late on with concussion. 9


A Cunningham: The left-footed player notched two vital frees and got through his usual power of work. 9


C Short: The nippy Short gave the Cross midfield another option apart from the two McConvilles when the ball was being played in from midfield. 8


T McEntee: Conclusively won his battle with Mayo county player Peter Butler. 8.5


O McConville: McConville once again showed that Peter Canavan apart he is the best forward in Ulster. Fortunate with his goal but his free-taking and especially his general play was superb. 9.5


Jim McConville: Took his goal bravely. Scurried around with his usual effectiveness and was an inspiration to his colleagues. 9


G Cummiskey: Demonstrated an incredible workrate. Unlike previous matches he lasted the full hour and was always a handful for Knockmore fullback Cathal Naughton. 8.5


C O’Neill: Very prominent in the first half. Possibly tired slightly after the break but still won several pieces of possession. 8


Substitute: M Moley: Crossmaglen’s super sub even managed a point with a Cantona-style outside of the boot effort during his brief spell at the end. 8.



Match stats

Dreams do come true...


Crossmaglen: Jarlath McConville; M Califf, D Murtagh, P McKeown; J Fitzpatrick, F Bellew, G McShane (0-1); J McEntee (0- 1), A Cunningham (0-2); C Short, T McEntee, O McConville (1-7); Jim McConville (capt, 1-1), G Cummiskey, C O’Neill.


Sub: M Moley (0-1) for J McEntee (55 mins).


Knockmore: P Reape; F Sweeney, C Naughton, T Bourke; G O’Hora, P Butler, J Davis; K Staunton (capt.), D Dempsey; D Sweeney (0-1), P Cawley, S Sweeney (0-1); K O’Neill (0-5), P Brogan (0-3), R Dempsey.


Subs: T Holmes for R Dempsey (half-time), H Langan for O’Hora (52 mins).


Booked: P McKeown (Crossmaglen), C Naughton, K O’Neill (Knockmore).


Referee: Brian White (Wexford).


Attendance: 34,852 (new All-Ireland Club Finals record).



P Reape: Endured a nightmare for Cross’s opening goal when he was completely deceived by the flight of the ball. 5.

F Sweeney: The spare man on occasions with O’Neill moving to midfield for Cross. But he seemed a little lost during most of the hour. 5

C Naughton: Struggled against Cummiskey. 6

T Bourke: Roasted by Jim McConville. Perhaps fortunate that Jim missed a number of scoreable opportunities. 5

G O’Hora: Could not contain Oisin McConville. Was substituted during the second half. 5.

P Butler: Second best against Tony McEntee. 6.5

J Davis: Yesterday witnessed few of the attacking sorties which Davis managed against Eire Og. Struggled against Cathal Short’s pace. 6

K Staunton: Another player who was unable to repeat their heroics of three weeks ago. 6

D Dempsey: Briefly got into the game during the third quarter but the damage had been done before half time. 6

D Sweeney: Did notch a point but picked up little of the loose ball that he had foraged for against the Carlow champions. 6

P Cawley: Struggled to make an impression against Gary McShane in the first half and he was equally ineffective when he was moved to centre half-forward after half time. 6

S Sweeney: Scored a point but he was part of a generally disappointing Knockmore half-forward unit. 6

K O’Neill: By far Knockmore’s best player. Gave Paddy McKeown a few anxious moments but O’Neill received little support from his attacking colleagues. 8

P Brogan: An early first-half effort which cannoned off the crossbar reminded fans of Brogan’s goalscoring exploits for Mayo in the mid-80s. But the big man faded after half time and made little impression against Martin Califf. 6

R Dempsey: Clearly struggling with injury. Probably shouldn’t have started and was

withdrawn at half time. 5

Substitutes: T Holmes: Introduced for Dempsey but struggled against Joe Fitzpatrick. 6

H Langan: Not on long enough for assessment.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 for the first month to get full access

GAA Football