The difference between Crossmaglen and the rest

The legendary GAA club featured in a special Off The Ball show last night.

The difference between Crossmaglen and the rest

©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Crossmaglen Rangers have always been something of an enigma. 

Their dominance in Armagh club football, combined with their provincial and All-Ireland triumphs have always intrigued fans of the game.

Whenever a team manages to cultivate such a rich vein of success, the inevitable question about how they did it, follows them forever.

Legendary members of the Crossmaglen club offered a fascinating insight into how they developed into a winning side, in a panel discussion on Off The Ball last night.

Manager Joe Kernan, who also guided Armagh to All-Ireland glory, explained that he wanted the team to perfect a simple game-plan that was based on movement, and honesty in their efforts. 

"Their movement up front was important with our forward line, that they were always moving. They were always tackling and we always went man to man. Nobody got off not doing their job.

Image: Joe Kernan standing alongside some of the Crossmaglen contingent.

"Once the self-belief comes into it - we put up a thing up on the wall about commitment, attitude and discipline. You add belief to that and that was the one thing, when the boys believed in what we were doing, we were a different team.

"The most important thing about this team was we had bad some days and and still won matches and not everybody can do that. Somebody asked what's the difference between Crossmaglen and everybody else and the bottom line is we probably work harder than the other team.

"You can play bad, but if you don't work hard, you're not gonna win that match.

Star forward Oisín McConville spoke about the winning mindset of the players, which stemmed from a hatred of losing.

"We won a lot of games by a point down through the years and that was just borne out of pure belief, doggedness and determination. 

Image: Members of the Crossmaglen team after capturing the 2011 All-Ireland title.

"We hated getting beat. And we got beaten a couple of times and we got a couple of nasty defeats down through the years. Every time we went out, we were hurting from them because we felt as if, at times, we were too good to get beaten. 

"Those defeats certainly brought us back down to earth and that gave us the kick up the arse to go again. We really took defeats badly. It would be a very quiet bus going home. When it hurt and stung, it stung, and that was what helped us come back year after year.

"That team was full of talent, but we also had rugged determination and we had some bad articles as well. We had a few of them in the changing room and if you have a few of them, and you have a few boys who can play football and kick the thing over the bar then it's a brilliant mix to have."

Listen to the full interview here: