Ballymacnab will hope their fairytale year has a happy ending when they contest their first ever Armagh Senior Football Championship final on Sunday at the Morgan Athletics Grounds.
Unfortunately for them, standing in their way is an all-conquering Crossmacglen side who have already amassed 14 Armagh titles, 8 Ulster and 5 All-Ireland titles – losing only one final – in this David verses Goliath contest.
An historic year for the ‘Nab has seen them successfully compete in Division One and reach their first Senior final. They have nothing to lose and all to gain as the enormity of the task at hand reaches reality.
The small town-land club reached the final beating fellow strugglers Clan Na Gael 4-12 to 0-4 in the quarter-final and defeating parish neighbours Granemore 2-11 to 0-11 in the semis.
Crossmacglen Manager Tony McEntee has brought a new style of football to the club using youthful exuberance with experienced players like Oisin McConville and Jamie Clarke to great effect.
This new brand of football suits the calibre of players the club have and has already paid dividends winning an Armagh, Ulster and All-Ireland title last year.
The irrepressible McConville has been in sparkling form this season, showing his younger teammates how it’s done at this level.
The sides have met two times in the league and although Cross came out on top on both occasions ‘Nab gave a good account of themselves and will have nothing to fear coming into the game.
But although Ballymacnab have made great strides this season, it’s virtually impossible to see them winning the final due, in most part, to the difference in quality on the respective benches, where Rangers are miles ahead.
The long-odds on favourites may feel some heat from the ‘Nab in the early stages of the match but will have too much big game experience and potency to falter at the final hurdle.
Verdict: Crossmacglen Rangers