Madden much too good for Dromintee in Armagh SFC

Irish News Ulster Allstar James Morgan will be key to Crossmaglen hopes as they seek a 20th Armagh title in 22 years
By Joe McManus

Donnelly Group Armagh SFC round two qualifier: Dromintee 1-9 Madden 1-15

MADDEN deservedly set up a quarter-final clash with Ballymacnab as they defeated an out-of-sorts Dromintee 1-15 to 1-9 at the Athletic Grounds on Friday night.

Arron McKenna opened the scoring for Madden after two minutes and by the eighth minute they had pushed three ahead thanks to a Niall Grimley free.

As the Raparees continued to dominate, Ciaran Rafferty carved out a palmed goal for McKenna, leaving it 1-3 to 0-2 at the end of the first quarter, Ryan Gaskin and Aidan Morgan getting the Dromintee scores.

Two super frees by Niall Grimley off the ground and a third from the hands left six points in it.

McKenna raised his second white flag as Madden continued go run riot before Shane McCoy, from a free, had Dromintee's first score in 15 minutes

Approaching half-time, former county 'keeper Philip McEvoy denied Conor Grimley a goal at the expense of '45', which the unerring Niall Grimley steered between the posts.

Early second half scores from McCoy (2), Cathal McKenna and Gaskin had Dromintee back in the frame before Aaron McKenna's rasper from close range rebounded off the post.

Niall Grimley's added two more frees making it 1-11 to 0-8 with 10 minutes left before Dromintee were handed a lifeline when a speculative effort dropped into the goal.

They couldn't get any closer though and Madden finished out the game in comfortable fashion.


CROSSMAGLEN will hope to return to the winners’ enclosure when they take on Wolfe Tone’s in Sunday's round two qualifier at the Athletic Grounds (7pm).

Floored by defending champions Maghery, Cross – with 19 titles from the last 21 seasons – have a point to prove, especially having been made sweat it out in their first round one-point victory against Whitecross.

Despite Maghery sprinting into an early four-point lead, Rangers appeared to have things under control when a Jamie Clarke goal turned a low-key affair around in the second half, the champions having failed to score in 35 minutes. Then came the real drama. Cross conceded three terrible goals within a short period which knocked them for six.

Wolfe Tone’s lost heavily to last year’s beaten finalists St Patrick’s, Cullyhanna but turned on the heat against Pearse Og to keep their championship hopes alive.

If league form is any indicator, Cross should have a relatively easy passage, having won Section A while the Derrymacash men were relegated from Section B.

If the Tone’s do manage to pull off a surprise they will need huge performances from the likes of James Lavery, Johnny McCarron, Niall Lennon, Finnian Moriarty, James Doyle and Niall Geoghan.

Still stinging from that Maghery upset, Cross are expected to be back to their ruthless. However they look set to be star forward Jamie Clarke although fellow Irish News Allstar James Morgan will provide defensive solidity. Tone’s may also find it difficult handling the likes of the O’Neill brothers – Oisin and Rian – Paul Hughes, Aaron and Stephen Kernan, Kyle Carragher and Martin Aherne.

The winners will meet Clann Eireann at the quarter-final stage.

The weekend action begins on Saturday with Granemore and Sarsfields crossing swords at Abbey Park (4.45pm) for the right to take on county champions Maghery in the last eight.

On Sunday (2.45pm), St Patrick’s can stage a repeat of their first-rounder with Harps if they lower the Whitecross colours at Crossmaglen (2.45).

The St Killian’s men raised a few eyebrows running Crossmaglen to a point but had a narrow escape against Culloville in the qualifiers.

Against Harps, last year’s beaten finalists found themselves being steamrolled for most of the hour but final-quarter goals from Shea Hoey (2) and Kieran Hoey had their opponents battling to hang on.

St Pat’s went through the league missing many regulars who were either Stateside or injured but with most of them now back it will make Whitecross’s mission all the more difficult.

The return of top marksman Aidan Nugent is a massive boost, while young Ross McQuillan scorer of two cracking goals against Wolfe Tone’s, has recovered from injury.

Whitecross never go down without a fight and should their county man Mark Shields (above), along with the McSherrys, Barry McKeown, Conor Malone, Declan Lennon and Anthony McCann strike top form, Cullyhanna will know they’re in a game.

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