Crossmaglen are back and they won't be going away any time soon 3 years ago

Crossmaglen are back and they won't be going away any time soon

Colm Parkinson was only joking.

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But it tells a lot about Aaron Kernan's mentality and it says a lot about Crossmaglen that Kernan didn't really get the joke.

For the first time since 1994, Crossmaglen went into the 2018 Armagh senior football championship having gone two years without contesting the county final, having spent two years in the doldrums.

For most clubs in Ireland, that's a harsh normality. For Crossmaglen, it's a full-on drought, a travesty.

"It felt like it was a lifetime...When you're growing up (having won 19 of the last 20 finals), you're just like 'we're there, we're in these finals, we win these finals," he said on Monday's GAA Hour podcast.

That's they type of place Crossmaglen is, that's the way these people think.

It was 2015 and Crossmaglen had won 19 of the last 20 Armagh titles. They'd won 11 Ulsters and they'd won six All-Irelands in that period too - the most fruitful period any Irish GAA club has ever achieved in such a short space of time.

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How wouldn't they take success like that for granted when success like that was all they knew?

They lost the 2015 All-Ireland club semi-final to Castlebar Mitchels and they didn't really return until last Sunday, when they defeated Ballymacnab to end the famine and win their first Armagh title in three years.

"For us to lose one (was bad), but for it to be two years in a row...It knocked all our confidence..."

Sunday's final win was special for Cross.

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"It's years since I heard the Crossmaglen support go as mad as they did, they were beating the back of the stand," he said.

The scenes in the dressing room and in the dressing room Sunday night were something special.

"The McEntees, Paul Hearty, Oisín McConville, were all there (in the clubhouse)...everyone was there, with all their children...It was brilliant to see these lads there enjoying it."

Now they are back and they're bounding into the Ulster quarter final Saturday week against Coalisland with that unshakeable belief in their heads again and that familiar certainty about themselves again.

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Only difference is, it's a new Crossmaglen team now.

"These young lads. They found their feet in the championship and they've been getting better and better as the weeks progressed."

"We've just won four of the last five minors...there's some superb footballers coming through, with good pedigree, coming from traditional families..."

The young lads have taken over. Only seven of the team who started against Castlebar that fateful day in Croker are still between 1 and 15 now.

Crossmaglen are back but it's a new-look Crossmaglen now.

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You can listen to the Kernan interview, the Odhran Mac Niallais love-in and much more from Monday's GAA Hour Show right here.