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Crossmaglen Rangers Club Notes 25/05/20





This weeks ‘Reminiscing With A Ranger’ needs no introduction, one of the greatest players and managers the game as ever seen, Joe Kernan.



Pictured Below; The  Kernan family pictured at the Athletic Grounds celebrating county final win.







RM; Joe, can you tell me about your early years?


JK; I was born and bred in Newry St, Crossmaglen. Moved to the Creamery road after I got married but returned to Cross in 1988.

My Mother was Joan Ward from Ballinasloe. My Dad and his family would go to Ballinasloe horse fare to buy horses, they stayed in a guest house and this is how he met my Mum. They got married and made Newry St. their home.

Pictured Beow; Joe & Joan Kernan on their wedding day.
When I was just eleven years old, my Dad died suddenly which left a huge void in our lives especially my Mother who had to look after us  all on her own, there was myself, my two sisters, Olivia and Annette and Brother Raymond at home. My half-Brother,  Patrick was studying at Queen’s University, Belfast.
At that difficult time, football was my life and I have memories of kicking the ball at the junction of Newry St and the Carron Rd. On match days, we would go to Tommy Byrnes corner and Tommy would open the window, place the radio on the window sill and we would listen to  Michael O’Hehir’s commentary. Old and young would listen, we played before the match started on the radio, half time and at the end and whoever who won the game we would imagine we were that team. You can imagine us all fighting over one ball, that is where I leaned to catch the ball, there was a man called Mick Evans who lived beside the chapel, he had a great drop kick, I don’t  know how Hanratty’s shop  window didn’t go in on numerous occasions!
My two Sisters emigrated to Australia followed by my Brother Raymond. Mum would go out to visit them often and I’d be home alone so football was my life. When I was twenty, my family in Australia begged me to join them, there as no work here and I was unemployed. I was very close to going but I knew if i went I wouldn’t return so I stayed for the football. Thank god I made that decision or I wouldn’t have met Patricia or experienced the enjoyment and satisfaction that football has brought me over the years.
My family then suffered another cruel blow, my Brother Raymond had suffered from depression and died tragically in Australia, which again was a huge loss to us all.
Pictured Below; Joe with his Mum Joan and his Brothers and Sisters.

RM; Joe, you didn’t go to Australia, you then met Patrica?
JK; Yes I met Patrica and we got married on 29th December 1976, (there was no football on!)
Pictured below; Joe & Patricia On their wedding day
Pictured below; Joe and his best man, Tony Morris
We have five Sons, Stephen, Aaron, Paul, Tony and Ross. We are so proud of them all. They have all played football with four of the boys winning Ulster Senior championshio medals with Armagh and three All Ireland medal winners with Cross.
Stephen is now in management which is a new chapter for him.
They are all living in and around Crossmaglen except Paul who lives in Melbourne, Australia with his girlfriend Paula and their Son Sam.
We have ten grandchildren, six boys and four girls so the future is bright for Cross Rangers!
Pictured Below; Kernan Brothers at Tony’s wedding.
Pictured Below: Sophie Kernan showing  her football skills in Croke Park.


Pictured Below; The Kernan boys celebrate winning the Séamus McFerran Cup and the Anglo-Celt Cup.




Pictured below; Joe & Patricia’s Grandchildren.





RM; What age you started playing football and who did you idolise when you were growing up?

JK; As I said my early days playing football were in the street.  The first trophy I ever won, pictured below was the 1968 Crossmaglen Street league.
Football was in my family, although my Dad never played, my Uncle Jamesy was a member of the 1926 Armagh All Ireland Junior winning team captained by Eugene Hanratty. He was a good footballer and he had a sweet left foot.
Jamsie was playing for Armagh in Belturbet against Cavan, he got injured but never went to hospital and died of his injuries. Jamesy, in the prime of his life to die so suddenly had a huge impact on the family and club. As a result, football stopped in Cross for a while after that. About a year later, my Grandfather throw a ball out into the street and football resumed.

Pictured Below; Jamsie Kernan & Armagh junior team, 1926, All Ireland junior football champions.




On my Mums side, my Uncle Sean Ward played for Galway at one stage, some of the Ward family liked rugby. In his latter years, Uncle Sean was a steward in Croke Park and he stewarded beside the canal end. Sean loved going to matches and when he died some of his ashes were spread in Croke Park.
The players I idolised or stood out for me when I was growing up were
Mick O’Connell, Kerry
Sean O’Neill, Down
Willie Bryan, midfielder for Offaly
As I got older and and I went to matches in the field, I admired the likes of Paddy Fitzpatrick, Tom McCreesh, Eamon Casey, Brendan Donaghy and the successful team of the 60s, they were a super team who achieved so much and i so wanted to replicate what these players had done.


RM; Can you outline all you have won as a player?

JK; I won;
U16 Championship
5 Armagh Senior Championship Medals
4 Armagh league medals
4 Railway Cup medals
3 Ulster Senior Championship medals with Armagh (77, 80 & 82)
Armagh, 1973, was County player of the year
Goal Of The Year, 1977 All Ireland Final
Man Of The Match, 1977 All Ireland Football Final
2 All Stars 1977 & 1980
I was inducted into GAA Hall Of Fame in 2019 which was very special.
Pictured Below; Joe & Ulster team, 1984 Railway Cup winners (Centenary year).

Pictured below; Joe, Captain, 1975 Armagh senior champions.

RM; Can you tell us what you have won as a manager?

JK; Club
6 U21 Championships
3 Armagh Senior league titles
6 Armagh Senior football championships
3 Ulster Club Championships
3 All Ireland Club
4 Ulster’s
1 National league
1 All Ireland
4 Railway Cups
I International Rules Cup
Belfast Telegraph 1999, Manager Of The Year Award 
Phillips Manager Of The Year 2002 (Covered all sports)
Sky Gaelic Writers Association Hall Of Fame Award.
Pictured Below; 1997, All Ireland club champions.
Pictured Below; Joe celebrates winning;
Andy Merrigan Cup
Sam Maguire 
Railway Cup 


Pictured Below; Joe and his Ireland management team; Pauric Joyce, John McCloskey, Dermot Eardley and Dara O’Shea with the Cormac McAnallen Cup.




Pictured Below; Taoiseach, Charlie Haughey presents Joe with his All Star Award.




Pictured Below; Belfast Telegraph,  1999 Manager Of The Year Award.



Joe with President John Horan after being inducted into tge GAA Hall Of Fame




Pictured Below; Joe and Patrica at the Sky Gaelic Writers Hall Of Fame Awards.





RM; Joe, A total of 32  Cups, what an achievement and I believe no one else in the country has a roll of honour like this?

JK; Yes, I have been very lucky, privileged and honoured to have achieved this but I got off to a great start with Cross winning so much in the early days. When I took over the Cross team in 1993, I choose two ex team mates and good friends, Donal McKenna and the late Ollie McEntee as selectors . Anyone who knew us, knew we had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the job. Many a story could be told but we will leave that for another time! I also want to thank  those other people who sat on those precious seats on the bus, Physio, Joanne Crummy Murphy, Thomas & Benny Cassidy, John McCloskey,  Paddy The Bishop, Francie McVerry, Seamie Murtagh, Tony Morris, Fr Clarke, Eddie Hughes and the late John McArdle, and the special man who drove us all round the country, the late Gerry Moley.
Pictured Below; Donal, Joe and the late Ollie 
RM;  Any game that you participated in that sticks out in your mind as very special?
JK; In 1977, we played Cavan in the Ulster championship, people didn’t hold out which hope for us , we had been hammered by Derry the two previous years beaten by 24 and 25 points respectively.
We turned it around in Armagh that day, we were ten points down at half time and we ended up winning  the game by a point and that put us on the road to Croke Park.
To get to the Ulster final and beat Derry who had previously beaten us was very special
The Semi final saw us play Roscommon who we drew with. The replay went down to the wire and we won by the bare minimum. So those three game were very special, i wasn’t used to winning with Armagh, Armagh  weren’t used to winning and supporters were used to winning, so to get to an All. Ireland final was brilliant.

RM; 6. If you were to play the game today, can you name three players you would like on your team?
JK; If i was to play the game today, the three players from past or present I would like on my team are;
Brian Fenton, Dublin
Michael Murphy, Donegal
Conor McManus

RM;  In your opinion has the game improved over the years?

JK; Yes the welfare of the players, the fitness of the players and the facilities had improved but it is hard to watch some matches  now because of the negative way the game is being played but I feel so privileged that we in Cross continue to play the game the proper way at all levels. We play  good attractive attacking football, a kicking game and we keep winning which baffles everyone outside of the club. We know how to win in Cross and we know how to play the game and hopefully that will continue for many years to come and so will success.

RM; Joe, you have managed club, county province and country, can you name who you think was the greatest footballer you ever saw playing ? 
JK; That’s very hard to answer when you consider all the positions on the field;
Goalkeeper; Stephen Cluxton is Mr dependable to Dublin, he has changed the way the game is played, he is accurate, confident and leads the team from the back and is so dependable.  He has made the goalkeeper the most important man on the field over the past twenty years.
Defender; Lee Keegan because he can do a man to man marking job, he could attack the game, he is tough and he could get you scores
Midfield; Jack O’Shea, he had it all, speed, he could score and an engine that could run all day

Forward;  It has to be Oisin McConville. I was lucky enough to manage him, lucky to see him close up and the fact that you knew that Oisin would turn up and preform, not every player can do that. He never missed a challenge match, he always wanted to play, he hadn’t too many injuries and most importantly on the big day, Oisin got the scores you needed to win matches, he never hid, he was unmark-able , his work ethic on the field was immense. To me while I named three other players, Oisin was the greatest player I have saw playing.

RM; Joe, any advice for players today?

Listen, learn and lead. Play the game with a smile on your face, it is supposed to be enjoyed and we should enjoy it. Don’t over think the game, keep it simple.
RM; Joe, can you tell us briefly what was going through your mind when the full time whistle went, Armagh V Kerry, All Ireland final 2002
JK; I just wanted the ref to blow the whistle! It seemed to go on forever. When the whistle went, it was relief. I just wanted to be with the players.  Those minutes after the full time whistle goes are very special, that is the time that players will remember for the rest of their lives, they realise goals have been reached, dreams have been fulfilled and the hugs, kisses and tears shed create everlasting memories. From a managers point of view, I love those few minutes , just to stand back and watch the players climb the steps with the smiles on their faces, all the hard work has come to fruition and this  is their time.
RM; Finally is there anything you would like to add Joe?
Taking over cross in 1993, we were a young team winning  five in a row U21 which was a big help to confidence. I grew with them as a manager and they grew as players and men. The last five  years were wonderful, 1997 to 2000, we won three Armagh SFC, 3 Ulster & 3 All Ireland’s but all good things need a change and I’d been there for nine years. I needed a rest to recharge the batteries and the players needed a new voice. The end of 2000, I stepped down. Before I knew it, the Armagh job came up at the end of 2001 and  I couldn’t say no . 2002 what a year that was!  One of the great things was that I had seven Cross players on the squad, John McCloskey had come with me to Armagh and Paddy the bishop was kit man. I also had my youngest Son, Ross, by my side every step of the way. He had the time of life! Good friend and a Father figure to me, Eamon Mackle, a great club and county supporter and without  him a lot of things wouldn’t of come to fruition.
Pictured Below; Joe and Son, Ross celebrate.
Pictured Below; Joe with Oisin, John, John D, Paul, Tony, Colm, Francie, Paddy & Sam.
Pictured Below; Joe and Eamon 
Pictured Below; Paudie & Joe 
Having the seven Cross players was very reassuring knowing you had players you had worked with and won with. We just had to convince the rest of the Armagh squad. The league went ok until we met Laois. Then the championship started against  Tyrone. No easy matches all the way to the final. What a day! Never to be forgot by anyone with blood in their veins
Great times, Great memories, Great friendships
That’s what the GAA brings to every house, club and County  that plays the game or follows it” Joe Kernan, 25th May, 2020.



During the week, we were very honoured when the Legend, Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh read a story for ‘Rangers Story Time’. The book Mícheál read is an Irish book, ’The Dingle Sheep who could not sleep’  written by Mark Stratton and illustrated by Martine Moriarty.
The link to buy the book is on the Cross Rangers FB page.
Thanks very much Mícheál, we all enjoyed it immensely and thanks also to Mícheál’s Son, Aonghus for all his help.






Who or What A You Missing


Thanks to Mary Deery, Valu land for her generous sponsorship for our recent online competition
‘Who or what are you missing’.
Mary and Susan had a tough task picking the top five entries who will each receive a £5 voucher for Valu land. Thanks to everyone who took part, they were all brilliant and thanks also to Mrs Cassidy.

The top five were;
Chloe Cumiskey
Ronan Sheppard
Fiadh Gibbons
Katie Gregory
Caéla McKeown

Each child who entered the competition will  receive a delicious ice cream complimentary of Mary Deery and Valu land.

Walk A Million Steps Challenge’

Walk a million steps challenge is underway. The challenge will finish on World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10th 2020. You can either walk, run, jog or dance over the 109 days to achieve the million steps. You can join the challenge at any time. Registration is open, costs £12 and can only be done online by clicking on the link below;





Social Media

Please check out our social medical sites for updates, information, puzzles, quizzes, trips down memory lane, recipes and much more. As I said before, social media is the most important tool we have at the minute, it’s both connecting and engaging people in our community and beyond. We continue to deliver groceries from Centra daily and any club member or member of our community who need any assistance at these difficult times, please get in touch. #inthistogether