Clontibret O'Neill's (Monaghan) 0-10
Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh) 0-9
John McEntee plotted his beloved Crossmaglen's downfall as his Clontibret side held on for victory by the narrowest of margins in tonight's Ulster club SFC quarter-final at the Athletic Grounds.
Former All-Star Conor McManus was once again to the fore as the Monaghan champions secured a place in the last four at the expense of the 11-time Ulster kingpins in a dreadful conditions. Cross' kicked 13 wides compared to Clontibret's eight and this ultimately proved their undoing in such a close game.
McManus and Pauric Boyle scored two points each as Clontibret eased into an early 0-4 to 0-0 lead. Veteran captain Aaron Kernan eventually opened Crossmaglen's account in the 15th minute before Michael P O'Dowd and McManus extended the O'Neill's advantage. Kyle Carragher and O'Dowd traded scores before Rian O'Neill left the half-time score reading 0-7 to 0-3 in Clontibret's favour.
Divided loyalties for John McEntee. ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne.
Further effots from Oisin O'Neill and substitute Tony Kernan after the restart halved the deficit to two before McManus was denied a goal by a super Tiernan McConville save in the 41st minute.
Rian O'Neill then reduced the gap to the minimum, but two more McManus points (one free) restored the Saffrons' three-point advantage. Cross' rallied with late points from Rian and Oisin O'Neill, but Clontibret held on, despite losing O'Dowd to a black card in the dying stages.
Clontibret O'Neill's - D McDonnell; C Doyle, C Boyle, L Savage; J Gormley, D Mone, C Greenan; F Hughes, K Lavelle; D Savage, M P Dowd (0-2), B Greenan; P Boyle (0-2), V Corey, C McManus (0-6, 5f). Subs: D Hughes for P Boyle, K Greenan for F Hughes, E McGuigan for D Savage.
Crossmaglen Rangers - T McConville; P Hughes (0-1), R Kelly, P McKeown; A Kernan (0-1f), C Cumiskey, C Crowley; S Morris, A Farrelly; J Hanratty, O O’Neill (0-2, 1f), C O’Connor; C McConville, R O’Neill (0-3, 2f), K Carragher (0-1). Subs: T Kernan (0-1) for J Hanratty, P Stuttard for P McKeown, M Boyce for A Farrelly, J McKeever for C O’Connor.
Referee - S Hurson.Tweet