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GAA: BELL TOLLS; Diver helps Derrymen put Cross in their place; Crossmaglen 0-9 Bellaghy 0-11.

Byline: By STEVE MALONE

BELLAGHY ousted defending Ulster club champs Crossmaglen, even though they did not record a single score in the second half of the contest.

The Derry club champions took a siege mentality to the home turf of Crossmaglen - and with an inspiring performance from Joe Diver in the middle of the field - they were always going to be difficult to beat.

Playing with a strong wind to their backs in the first half, Bellaghy found it imperative to build up a huge lead before the break.

And their 17 first half shots to Crossmaglen's six reflected just how the game transpired.

John McEntee gave Crossmaglen an early lead with a point from 45-metres but this was only one of two points from play that the south Armagh side scored.

Joseph Cassidy was the target-man for Bellaghy and he and Gavin Diamond caused Crossmaglen all sorts of problems.

A Cassidy free was followed with a Gavin Diamond point after he took advantage of a poor John Donaldson pass.

This kick-started a sequence of events including a Diver point and two further converted frees from Cassidy, before Oisin McConville got off the mark on 22 minutes.

Crossmaglen defended too deep and this allowed Bellaghy to shoot with the wind from distance and they had the necessary fire in their bellies.

The Crossmaglen half- forward line were guilty of poor handling and the Bellaghy midfield commanded the area.

The Derry champions carried their intensity to the front lines and with short interlinking and overlapping movement they frustrated Crossmaglen.

Declan Graffin, Francis Glackin and Louis McPeake all found the range and they carried a 0-11 to 0-02 lead in the second half.

Not surprisingly the Cross lifted their game and the talismanic Oisin McConville (0-06) was left to try and turn the tables. But the game fell into a stop-start routine with Bellaghy players taking the sting out of the game when they could.

Crossmaglen gradually chipped away at the lead and on 58 minutes John McEntee had the perfect opportunity to score a goal when Aaron Kernan put him through, but with only the keeper to beat, he blasted wide.

McConville and Aaron narrowed the gap and McConville almost found the net when his clever flick scraped the post and went wide.

Five minutes of additional time was played and all hands went to the Crossmaglen pump, but Michael McGoldrick and Manus McShane defended with gusto and Bellaghy held on to win and earn a semi-final berth with Mayobridge of Down.

CROSSMAGLEN: Paul Hearty, Brendan McKeown, Francie Bellew, Gareth O'Neill, Aaron Kernan (0-2, both frees), Tony McEntee, Shaun McNamee, John Donaldson, Anthony Cunningham, John Murtagh (Tony Kernan 46), John McEntee (0-1) Oisin McConville (0-6, 5 frees) Martin Ahern (Colm O'Neill 39) Michael McNamee and Cathal Short (Stephen Clarke 53).

BELLAGHY: Brian Scullion, Michael McGoldrick, Manus McShane, David O'Neill, Paul Diamond, Ciaran McNally, Kevin Doherty, Fergal Doherty, Joe Diver (0-2), Francis Glackin (0-1) (Gary McShane 59), Gareth Doherty, Louis McPeake (0-1), Declan Griffin (0-1), Joseph Cassidy (0-4, 3 frees) and Gavin Diamond.

CAPTION(S):

44 DAILY MIRROR, Monday, November 7, 2005; NICE TRIP: Bellaghy's Louis McPeake and Cross' Anthony Cunningham battle for possession in the Ulster Club Championship in Armagh; THE SMASH GRAB: Bellaghy's Joe Diver is tackled by Crossmaglen's John Donaldson
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 7, 2005
Words:551
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Next Article:GAA: EOINLY ONE WINNER; Naomh Eoin 3-14 Celbridge 0-12.


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