Armagh and Crossmaglen have another genuine star on their hands 2 years ago

Armagh and Crossmaglen have another genuine star on their hands

This lad has it all.

Some little towns and villages in this island have a knack of producing prodigiously talented players and Crossmaglen is one of those places.

For the last 20 years, the south Armagh village have been front and centre for the majority of nearly every club football championship played and the most graceful players we've ever been lucky enough to see play the game have been wearing those famous black and amber stripes along the way.

We're talking about players like Oisín McConville, Tony McEntee and Stephen Kernan and Jamie Clarke.

The players who bring gaelic football to glorious life every time they touch the ball, players who make youngsters want to play the game in the first place and players who ensure that every Sunday spent at a ground anywhere in the country watching gaelic football is a Sunday well spent.

Those are Crossmaglen type of players.

Omagh was the destination on Sunday and anybody who made the trip to Tyrone got their money's worth. Gaoth Dobhair were irresistible with Odhran Mac Niallais and Daire Ó Baoill playing like we're used to seeing Crossmaglen men play.


Rian O'Neill was playing that way too.

It's only a couple of years ago when a whippersnapper O'Neill was looking at his uncle Oisín McConville terrorising defences and dreaming that some day he'll be doing that too.

His time has come and though he's still only 20, he's done enough already to suggest that it's what he'll be doing for the next decade for Cross and in the orange of Armagh.

He was exceptional in their Ulster quarter final victory over Coalisland a fortnight ago and he was exceptional again on Sunday. He kicked eight points, three of the finest from open play and he tested the Gaoth Dobhair lads throughout.

Off left and off right he can swing them over, off the laces he can bury them. He has pace to burn and just to keep defenders on their toes he sells dummies like they're going out of fashion too.


And again.

Armagh and Cross have a genuine star on their hands but one thing he'll have to improve is his discipline if he's to continue on the trajectory he's currently on. He showed his inexperience late on when he let his frustration boil over, lifting James Ó Baoill out of it with an elbow off the ball.

He was deservedly shown a red card for that nasty one and he'll have to learn from that. If he does, he has some future ahead of him.