Crossmaglen win spoilt by row and biting allegation

Crossmaglen (Armagh) 2-15 Cargin (Antrim) 0-13: Allegations that Cargin midfielder Michael McCann was bitten during a second-half row overshadowed Crossmaglen’s AIB Ulster club SFC quarter-final victory at the Athletic Grounds yesterday.

Crossmaglen win spoilt by row and biting allegation

The Antrim club claim that a 36th minute brawl, which involved around a dozen players, occurred after McCann was allegedly bitten.

“One of our players, Michael McCann, was reportedly bitten,” said Cargin manager John Brennan.

“I didn’t see it, I was too far away, but some of our players were very aggrieved about it and Michael has a mark on his neck.”

Crossmaglen were leading 0-10 to 0-8 when tempers flared and it took a minute for order to be restored.

Referee Joe McQuillan subsequently booked Gerard McCann (Cargin) and James Morgan (Crossmaglen) but took no further action.

McCann was later sent-off after picking up a second yellow card in the 52nd minute, a dismissal which took the sting out of Cargin’s fightback.

Second-half goals from Johnny Murtagh and Johnny Hanratty helped Cross negotiate a very tricky hurdle and set up an interesting rematch with Kilcoo in the semi-finals.

Rocked perhaps by the absence of injured midfielder David McKenna, Cross started slowly and trailed by 0-4 to 0-1 after eight minutes with Ciaran Close and Michael Magill influential up front for the Antrim champions.

Cross moved Rico Kelly from full-forward to midfield and they began to establish a foothold in the game.

Points from Johnny Hanratty, Tony Kernan (free) and Mickey McNamee got Cross back into it and Cargin squandered several opportunities to stretch their lead, hitting four first-half wides and dropping a couple of efforts short.

Magill was on fire, nailing a ‘45’ and then slinging a point over his shoulder from a difficult angle.

Michael McCann was on target with a 40m point to put Cargin 0-7 to 0-4 ahead in the 28th minute but Crossmaglen, so well versed in Ulster club combat, finished the first half brilliantly with three quick-fire points to go in level at the break.

Frees from Aaron and Tony Kernan reduced the gap and in stoppage-time, Mickey McNamee capitalised on a poor kick-out and pointed from close range.

Cargin should have been ahead at that stage but Cross had the momentum now and within seconds of the restart, Aaron Kernan popped over a left-footed free to put his team in front for the first time.

His brother Tony converted a ‘45’ to put them two points clear and then tensions boiled over in the 36th minute with a spat involving roughly a dozen players.

Crossmaglen settled after the row and when Cargin lost possession around their own ‘45’, Murtagh ran through and unleashed a fierce shot to give Cross a 1-10 to 0-8 lead in the 39th minute.

Magill led the Cargin fightback with another ‘45’ and a superb score from the wing. They were back within a score, trailing 1-13 to 0-13, with nine minutes remaining but the sting went out of their challenge after Gerard McCann was sent off.

Crossmaglen sub Oisin O’Neill scored 0-3 in the last quarter and Stephen Kernan delivered a clever low pass in to Johnny Hanratty for the final goal.

Scorers for Crossmaglen:

T Kernan 0-4 (2f, 1 ‘45’), J Hanratty 1-1, J Murtagh 1-0, A Kernan 0-3 (2f), O O’Neill 0-3, S Kernan 0-2, M McNamee 0-2.

Scorers for Cargin:

M Magill 0-5 (2 ‘45’), C Close 0-3 (1f), M McCann 0-2, T McCann 0-2 (1f), T Scullion 0-1

CROSSMAGLEN:

P Hearty; P Hughes, A Rushe, P McKeown; S Finnegan, M Aherne, J Morgan; J Hanratty, A Kernan; M McNamee, S Kernan, T Kernan; J Murtagh, R Kelly, K Carragher.

Subs:

G Carragher for Finnegan (29), O O’Neill (0-3) for Murtagh (41), A Cunningham for Kelly (50), P Stuttard for McNamee (53), K Brennan for K Carragher (56).

CARGIN:

C O’Reilly; M Kane, J Laverty, K O’Boyle; T Scullion, J Crozier, J Carron; M McCann, G McCann; P McCann, T McCann, E McGrogan; R McKernan, C Close, M Magill.

Subs:

M Kelly for McGrogan (38), B Laverty for P McCann (41), M Clarke for T McCann (55).

Referee:

Joe McQuillan (Cavan)

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