Crossmaglen to appeal Kernan's sending off
REIGNING All-Ireland football club champions, Crossmaglen Rangers, are expected to launch an appeal in the hope of having Stephen Kernan's red card rescinded from Saturday's AIB All-Ireland Club SFC semi-final victory over Kerry's Dr Crokes (3-8 to 2-8) in O'Moore Park, Portlaoise.
Kernan, who scored Crossmaglen's second goal in their superb second-half comeback, was red-carded by referee David Coldrick in the 45th minute on the advice of one of his linesmen.
"I would say the club will definitely look at appealing it," said Crossmaglen PRO Tom McKay.
While Kernan's dismissal was a black mark on the Crossmaglen copybook they once again demonstrated their incredible will to win and craft in engineering vital scores when needed most.
Dr Crokes made a blistering start and looked like they would sink Cross' with an early avalanche of scores. Dáithí Casey's 20th minute goal for a rampant Kerry side steered his men to a commanding 1-5 to 0-1 lead.
However, the introduction of David McKenna into the engine room helped to ignite Crossmaglen and Michael McNamee's goal, following a great fetch and pass from the wily Oisín McConville, was the perfect fillip for the Ulster champions.
From a position of vulnerability after 20 minutes Cross' were back in the hunt by the break when trailing by just two points, 1-6 to 1-4.
"Oh absolutely, David (McKenna) on his own nearly brought us back into the match," said Crossmaglen joint-manager Tony McEntee as his side begin preparations for their St Patrick's Day duel with Garrycastle in Croke Park.
"Winning primary possession is what he's good at and that completely changed the match."
If McKenna was one of the Cross' heroes so was 20-year-old corner-back, James Morgan, who curtailed the influence of Colm 'Gooch' Cooper.
Crossmaglen kept their momentum going on the restart as a David McKenna point cut the deficit to the minimum.
McEntee's men continued to pile on the pressure and were rewarded with their second goal when Tony Kernan was initially denied by Crokes 'keeper Alan Kelly in the 34th minute, but his brother Stephen Kernan was on hand to blast the ball to the net for Cross' to edge in front for the first time, 2-5 to 1-6.
Further points from the influential Aaron Kernan and Jamie Clarke put four points between the sides before Stephen Kernan was dismissed for an off-the-ball incident as the game entered the final quarter.
Crokes battled back with Eoin Brosnan firing over a point and when their sub Chris Brady goaled the sides were level.
But Crossmaglen have been down this road before and their experience was telling in the concluding minutes as Aaron Kernan's goal when a point would have been the easier option ensure victory for the Armagh outfit.
SCORERS - Crossmaglen: A Kernan 1-3 (0-3f); M McNamee, S Kernan 1-0 each; O McConville 0-2 (1f); D McKenna, J Clarke, A Cunningham 0-1 each. Dr Crokes: D Casey, C Brady 1-0 each; C Cooper 0-3 (2f); J Doolan, B Looney, A Kenneally, A O'Donovan, E Brosnan 0-1 each.
CROSSMAGLEN RANGERS: P Hearty; J Morgan, P Kernan, P McKeown; A Kernan, D O'Callaghan, S Finnegan; J Hanratty, K Brennan; T Kernan, S Kernan, A Cunningham; J Clarke, M McNamee, O McConville. Subs: B McKeown for O'Callaghan (12), D McKenna for Finnegan (17), M Aherne for McNamee (29), K Carragher for Brennan (40);
DR CROKES: A Kelly; J Payne, L Quinn, K McMahon; F Fitzgerald, E Brosnan, D O'Leary; A O'Donovan, J Buckley; A Kenneally, D Casey, B Looney; C Cooper, K O'Leary, J Doolan. Subs: C Brady for Kenneally (51), S O'Neill for Looney (58).
REF: David Coldrick (Meath).