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Cross' stand in Brigid's path to glory once again

Story by Tom Kelly

Friday, 7th December, 2012 2:31pm

Cross' stand in Brigid's path to glory once again

John Tiernan in action for St Brigid's in the 2011 All-Ireland club SFC final against Crossmaglen Rangers - the teams will meet again at the semi-final stage next February, after both teams retained their provincial titles.

By Kieran Galvin

St Brigid's will face a rematch with mighty Crossmaglen Rangers in next February's All-Ireland club SFC semi-finals.

Crossmaglen won their tenth Ulster club title with a 3-9 to 1-9 win over Down's Kilcoo at the Athletic Grounds last Sunday - thereby setting up a meeting with Connacht champions Brigid's.

The Kiltoom men earned much praise for their performance against Crossmaglen in the 2011 final, but it was the Armagh side who emerged victorious on a 2-11 to 1-11 scoreline.

The teams also met at the All-Ireland semi-final stage in 2007, with the Ulster men claiming victory by a narrow margin in Mullingar.

Last year, Crossmaglen again defeated a local team in the All-Ireland final, getting the better of Westmeath's Garrycastle after a replay.

Crossmaglen's Ulster final victory on Sunday has been somewhat overshadowed by allegations that Cross' full-forward Aaron Cunningham was racially abused by an opponent during the game. Cunningham's father, Joey - who played for Armagh during the 1990s and was also a noted soccer player - is black.

Crossmaglen's Michael McNamee received a straight red card during the game and is therefore set to miss the showdown with St Brigid's. Ace Cross' forward Jamie Clarke was also sent off but, as it was for two yellow cards, he won't face any suspension.

The All-Ireland semi-final between Brigid's and Crossmaglen is due to be played on Saturday, February 16, 2013 - no venue has been confirmed for the game yet. The Westmeath GAA headquarters of Cusack Park will surely be among the venues in consideration for what will be an eagerly-awaited clash.

In advance of the Ulster final, St Brigid's star Frankie Dolan expressed the hope that his side would get the chance to face Cross' again.

"They are the greatest club team of all time for what they have done the last 10 or 15 years. We want to play the best team in the country, and Crossmaglen are by far the best team in the country. Hopefully we will be playing them, I would like to meet them again," said the Brigid's veteran.

In the Munster final yesterday (Sunday), Dr Crokes of Kerry defeated Cork champions Castlehaven. Crokes will meet Tir Conall Gaels in the All-Ireland quarter-finals on December 16, with the winners advancing to a semi-final clash with the Leinster champions.

The Leinster final will take place on Sunday at Cusack Park, Mullingar (1.45pm), with Portlaoise taking on Ballymun Kickhams.

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