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AIB GAA Football All Ireland Senior Club Championship Semi-Final – Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh) 3-8 Dr. Crokes (Kerry) 2-8

Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh) defeated Dr. Crokes (Kerry) by 3-8 to 2-8 in the AIB GAA Football All Ireland Senior Club Championship Semi-Final on Saturday at O’Moore Park Portlaoise.

Report from the GAA.ie web site

Dr Crokes (Kerry) 2-8 Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh) 3-8

Reigning champions Crossmaglen Rangers demonstrated once again why they are the biggest force in club football by overturning a seven-point first half deficit and overcoming the second half dismissal of Stephen Kernan to beat Dr Crokes at Portlaoise. With Eoin Brosnan in imperious form at centre-back for the Kerry champions, Crossmaglen looked to be in serious trouble when a Daithí Casey goal on 21 minutes gave Crokes a 1-5 to 0-1 lead. Cross hit back almost immediately when Michael McNamee hit the back of the net and had the gap down to just two points – 1-6 to 1-4 – at the break thanks to injury time frees from Aaron Kernan and Oisín McConville.

The Ulster kingpins were ahead within minutes of the resumption, when Stephen Kernan dummied past three men and steered a shot in off a post. Cross’ moved four points clear and appeared to be in control until goalscorer Stephen Kernan was shown a straight red card by referee David Coldrick. In keeping with the tone of a dramatic game, Crokes were level within minutes, as substitute Chris Brady fired home the rebound after the ball had come back to him off a post. With just six minutes left and Cross’ seemingly in trouble again, Aaron Kernan showed great composure to slip home the goal that ultimately decided the game. A superb Aaron Cunningham point was the score that ensured Crossmaglen are back in Croke Park on March 17 to defend their title.

Match Preview

Dr Crokes v Crossmaglen Rangers, Portlaoise, 2.00pmFriday, February 17, 2012

From the GAA.ie web site

AIB GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Club Championship semi-final

Dr Crokes (Kerry) v Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh), Portlaoise, 2.00pm

With the mild winter just passed, there has been much comment about the early arrival of spring such as the flowering of daffodils or the birth of lambs, but perhaps another sign of the coming of the season is Crossmaglen Rangers featuring in another AIB GAA Football All-Ireland Club semi-final.

For the fifth time in six years the Orchard County kingpins have made it to the last four. Indeed, since they made their penultimate debut back in 1997, Crossmaglen have featured at the business end of the championship on eight occasions, only failing twice to make it to Croke Park in that period. Nemo Rangers, with five semi-final outings over the same time span, are the closest challengers to Cross’.

So, do those daunting statistics make Dr Crokes ‘David’ to Crossmaglen’s ‘Goliath’ this afternoon? Anything but, for the Kingdom side have a bit of form when it comes to last four appearances themselves having won two of the three they have featured in since their debut in 1991 – a 2-6 to 3-9 loss to Salthill of Galway. Twelve months later Crokes returned to gain revenge over the Corribsiders’ new champions Corofin, while five years ago Dr Crokes defeated Moorefield of Kildare to qualify for a second final.

In the final on that occasion the Kerry title-holders met today’s opponents and appeared on course for victory when they led by three points with nine minutes remaining at GAA Headquarters but Crossmaglen clawed their way back to parity by the close of the hour. Having notched the last three points of the drawn encounter, the Armagh side hit the final five in the replay at O’Moore Park for victory.

With that history don’t rule out extra-time.