Cross edge Droms in bad tempered battle
15 May 2019 - by By Elaine Ingram
It was certainly not a war of attrition in Crossmaglen on Sunday, as the first half of what had been a close contest between the hosts and visiting Dromintee, ended in mayhem.
Cross eventually edged out their opponents to sit second in the table with four wins from five, while Droms have only two points to show from their six games played.
This was a close contest from the start with an early Dromintee goal leaving Crossmaglen playing catchup. They took their points well though and levelled proceedings at 0-6 to 1-3 on 27 minutes. Droms scored again before half-time to put them one in front at the break, but before referee Raymond Watters had a chance to blow his whistle, an off the ball incident led to a melee on the field with every player, subs and members of the management from both sides involved.
Only Ryan Gaskin was booked for Dromintee when the situation eventually calmed down, as Watters couldn’t possibly see every incident. Somehow ordered was restored, the players went to their respective dressing rooms and there were no further skirmishes in the second half.
The good news for Cross, and indeed Armagh county, is that Oisin O’Neill was finally back on the field and recovered from injury. He played a full game and looked terrific, scoring 0-5 of their 11-point tally.
Dromintee opened the scoring with a point from Gareth Kilgallon but Miceal McCabe cancelled it out in the seventh minute.
Three minutes later Droms upped the ante however, when Neil Courtney raised a green flag with a finish to the net.
Aaron Boyle tagged on a point and things looked good for the visitors with a four-point advantage midway through the half. And it continued that way with Dromintee goalkeeper Shane McCoy trekked down the field for a ’45 as Cross continued to be contained. But he sent the ball wide and eventually Kyle Carragher got the second point of the afternoon for Cross to make it 1-2 to 0-2. O’Neill was sending some good deliveries into the square for Carragher, but he was dispossessed once and pulled a shot wide before Callum Comiskey hit the target and Mel Boyce did likewise after being set up by Carragher.
McCoy came out of his goal again for a free but this time he played short to Gaskin, who ploughed through the middle and fisted over the bar.
Cross were soon back in possession again but a good passage of play between four players as they worked their way forward, came to nothing as no one was willing to take the shot on and they eventually lost the ball.
O’Neill did hit the target with a super shot from a tight angle on 25 minutes however, and the same player delivered to Alan Farrelly, who dinked over to Colin O’Connor and he levelled proceedings with two minutes left on the clock.
Aaron Boyle nudged Dromintee in front 1-4 to 0-6 when the aforementioned melee broke out, and it was a wonder the second half took place at all.
It did though and there were no incidents of note apart from O’Connor being sent off for Cross on 56 minutes with a second yellow.
Cross went in front for the first time in the game after Daniel Comiskey levelled and O’Neill scored from a free at the start of the half, but Conor Hoey squared things up again with the next point to make it 0-8 to 1-5. Droms went in front again after a super move from Gaskin who took off from his own half with ball in hand, before being taken down for a free that Courtney popped over the bar.
Cross keeper Stephen Morgan made a super save from a shot by sub Shane Carroll as the clock ticked down and another O’Neil free, after he was pulled down, levelled the playing field again at 0-9 to 1-6.
O’Neill showed his star quality after that with another terrific free from a tight angle with 53 minutes played and a good three-man move saw the same player score from play to give Cross a two-point advantage at 0-11 to 1-6.
Cross tried to hold onto the ball and run down the clock after that and they managed to do so, with Morgan pointing from a free that proved to be the last score of the game, giving Cross a 0-11 to 1-7 victory.
To read more subscribe to our online Newspaper