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GARRY ARE TOP DRAW; REPORTS, PREVIEWS AND ALL THE LATEST CLUB GOSSIP.

Byline: PAUL KEANE

CROSSMAGLEN R'GERS 0-15

GARRYCASTLE 1-12

AIB All-Ireland Club Final at Croke Park

GARRYCASTLE capped a day of shocks at Croke Park by holding the might of Crossmaglen to a thrilling AIB All-Ireland club final draw.

Just like Loughgiel in the hurling decider, Leinster champions Garrycastle were widely written off beforehand but performed heroics in front of 25,412.

They led the five-time champions for nearly 50 minutes of the game and were only reeled in as the finish line loomed.

Crossmaglen will equally kick themselves that they didn't finish the job and claim a sixth crown.

They finally drew level with five points in a row between the 42nd and 49th minutes and largely dominated the final 15 minutes.

Garrycastle did move two points clear again with scores from Westmeath legend Des Dolan, their top scorer, and Paddy Mulvihill.

But Crossmaglen stepped back on the gas and they were quickly level again with points from Oisin McConville and big midfielder David McKenna.

The northerners were completely dominant at this stage and had several chances to win it late on.

But McConville and Man of the Match Tony Kernan blasted shots wide when the game was there for the taking.

"Both sides would look at it as a missed chance," admitted Garrycastle manager Anthony Cunningham.

"But you'd be very proud of the lads at the same time and we'll be ready to go again the next day."

Cunningham had hoped to tie up his involvement with Garrycastle and focus on his role as Galway's new hurling manager but will have to multi-task for another fortnight.

It looked for long spells as if he would enjoy a Croke Park swan song as Garrycastle asked all the early questions. Dolan was excellent when he got on the ball and kicked three first-half points.

But it was former Westmeath and League of Ireland soccer player Mulvihill who put daylight between them with a well taken 24th minute goal.

The strike helped Garrycastle to lead 1-8 to 0-7 at half-time and they moved five clear by the 40th minute.

Both sides were down to 14 men at that stage and the game opened out into a cracker with Cross', typically, finishing strongest to rescue the draw.

CAPTION(S):

HE'S BEHIND YOU, JAMIE Crossmaglen's Jamie Clarke is chased by David O'Shaughnessy, of Garrycastle YOU CATCH IT? Crossmaglen's Aaron Cunningham just ahead of Doran Harte of Garrycastle sCAN AND DESPAIR Crossmaglen suffer as Garrycastle's Paddy Mulvihill celebrates scoring sJOY
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 18, 2012
Words:415
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