Ulster club round-up: Crossmaglen rack up 45th Armagh title
Armagh kingpins turn it around in second half against Ballymacnab
Crossmaglen’s Rian O’Neill celebrates at the final whistle. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
A dramatic second-half turnaround during which they produced an electrifying scoring burst that yielded 1-9 without response swept Crossmaglen Rangers to their 45th Armagh senior football championship title at the Athletic Grounds.
Having trailed in the first-half to Ballymacnab, for whom Gavin McParland’s goal was crucial in establishing their 1-6 to 0-6 interval lead, Rangers slid into the driving seat and with Oisin O’Neill leading the way they laid relentless siege to the Ballymacnab citadel.
From the 39th to the 56th minute, Rangers were simply majestic and after O’Neill, Gavin Cumiskey, Paul Hughes and Colin O’Connor shared in the scoring blitz, Ballymacnab’s vision of a first-ever title had been shattered.
O’Connor’s goal in the 56th minute was then augmented by a second from the superb O’Neill in added time on a day when Rangers tradition, rampant hunger and indomitable spirit saw them script another chapter in their odyssey of success.
Crossmaglen Rangers: T McConville; P Hughes (0-2), R Kelly, C Crowley; A Kernan, C Cumiskey (0-2), G Carragher; S Morris (0-2), A Farrelly (0-1); J McKeever, O O’Neill (1-5, 0-3f), C O’Connor (1-1); M Boyce (0-1), R O’Neill (0-2, 0-1f) , C McConville (0-2, 0-1f). Subs: K Carragher for McKeever (39 mins), T Kernan for Boyce (48), J Hanratty for Morris (60), S Finnegan for G Carragher (60).
Ballymacnab: C McGivern; C Loughran, R Kennedy, S Lynch; M Beagan, R Gribben, J Gray; C Gribben, P Gribben; P Meegan (0-1), B McCone, O McGivern; R Grugan (0-2), J Grugan (1-6), G McParland (1-0). Subs: R Watters for McGivern (45 mins), N McKee for Meegan (52).
Referee: Jake Magill (Down)
Ciaran Thompson’s sweet ’45 earned Naomh Conaill a replay against Ulster champions Gaoth Dobhair in the Donegal SFC final.
Thompson’s effort sailed over with three minutes remaining in a dramatic, if low-scoring affair in Ballybofey.
Gaoth Dobhair were behind at half-time, but with Eamon McGee and Odhrán McFadden-Ferry in form, they led by two points with 10 minutes to go.
Substitute Gavin McBride landed a monster point from distance to put Gaoth Dobhair 0-8 to 0-6 ahead and it looked as if the champions would prevail.
But Naomh Conaill - appearing in their third successive final - hit back. Eoghan McGettigan’s fourth free of the day was their first score in 23 minutes and Thompson secured another day out.
They might even have won it, but Dermot Molloy curled wide with a late snapshot.
“It looked like it could get away on us, but we dug deep and we responded well,” Naomh Conaill manager Martin Regan said. “Whether it got away from us, it’s hard to know. Both had chances to win it, but the draw is the fairest result.”
Gaoth Dobhair fashioned an early goal chance, but McFadden-Ferry was denied by Stephen McGrath.
Cian Mulligan rifled over from the rebound to put the champions two up, but a pair of McGettigan frees restored parity again for Naomh Conaill.
The last Donegal final to be replayed was in 2005 when Naomh Conaill won Dr Maguire for the first time. Brendan McDyer is one of the survivors of that famous success and he kicked the Glenties men in front for the first time.
They led 0-5 to 0-4 at half-time and Gaoth Dobhair lost Kieran Gillespie to his latest injury setback at the break.
Gaoth Dobhair hit four-in-a-row early in the second half to move into the driving seat, but Naomh Conaill fought back earned a second bite.
“We’re certainly not happy with what we produced and we’ll have another humdinger next week,” Gaoth Dobhair’s Kevin Cassidy said afterwards.
Naomh Conaill: S McGrath; U Doherty, AJ Gallagher, K McGettigan; E O’Donnell, A Thompson, E Waide; C Thompson (0-1 ’45), L McLoone; B McDyer (0-1), E McGettigan (0-4, 0-4f), E Doherty; J Mac Ceallabhuí (0-1), C McGuinness (0-1), K Gallagher. Subs: N Byrne for McGuinness (43 mins), D Molloy for Gallagher (43), J O’Malley for McDyer (54).
Gaoth Dobhair: C Sweeney; G McFadden, N McGee (0-1), K Gillespie; N Friel (0-2), D McBride, D Ó Baoill; M Carroll, E McGee; O McFadden-Ferry, O Mac Niallais (0-1, 0-1f), N Ó Baoill; C Mulligan (0-1), K Cassidy, E Collum (0-2, 0-2f). Subs: C McFadden for Gillespie (half-time), S Ferry for C.McFadden (36), G McBride (0-1) for Collum (43), P McGee for N.Ó Baoill (56), E Harkin for McBride (black card, 62).
Referee: E McFeely (St Mary’s, Convoy).
Scotstown’s drive for five came to a shuddering halt in Clones as a hungrier, more focused Clontibret ruthlessly put their plans to the sword in a game where the reigning champions were never allowed to establish anything like a foothold at any stage.
Clontibret led from start to finish, opening the scoring with a point by man of the match Conor McManus. The forward was orchestrator in chief of almost everything they achieved and by half-time they had opened a six-point lead, although Scotstown did fluff a couple of early goal chances that could have changed the complexion of the game.
Clontibret picked up where they left off on the resumption with three quick-fire points to stretch their lead to nine. Scotstown then found their rhythm and enjoyed their best period of the game when they got the margin down to four points with five minutes of normal time remaining.
Any chance they had of closing the gap further, though, was were shattered when Clontibret struck for the only goal of the game. McManus set up the substitute Ryan McGuigan, who finished from close range. Thereafter it was a matter of Clontibret just simply running down the clock which they did to good effect and had the luxury of hitting the last point when Jack Gormley fisted over.
Clontibret: D McDonnell, C Doyle, Conor Boyle, L Savage, J Gormley (0-1), D Mone (0-1), C Greenan, F Hughes (0-1), K Lavelle (0-1), D Savage, P Boyle (0-1), B Greenan (0-1), M P O’Dowd (0-2), V Corey, C McManus (0-6, 0-2f). Subs: R McGuigan (1-0) for D Savage, D Hughes for P Boyle, K Greenan for K Lavelle, E McGuigan for C Doyle, Cormac Boyle for F Hughes.
Scotstown: R Beggan (0-2, 0-2f), D McArdle, E Caulfield, M Duffy, R O’Toole, D Morgan, J McDevitt, K Hughes, J Turley, P Sherlock, C McCarthy (0-4, 0-2f), D Hughes (0-1), S Carey (0-3, 0-3f), M McCarville (0-1), J McCarey. Subs: F Caulfield for J McCarey, F Maguire for M Duffy.
Referee: S Hagan (Sean McDermotts).
Magherafelt O’Donovan Rossa ended a drought of 41 years to land the John McLaughlin Cup yesterday in a somewhat controversial finish to the Derry county final.
With the winners one point in front, over two minutes beyond the allocated four minutes of added time was past when Glen’s Ciaran McFaul lofted the ball over. Referee John Joe Cleary had blown the whistle just before McFaul took his shot, much to the distaste of the Maghera faithful.
Rossa were much the better team throughout, however, a point acknowledged by Glen manager Jude Donnelly afterwards. Using the breeze to their advantage in the first half they got to half-time 0-9 to 0-5 in front. More tellingly, they tortured Glen goalkeeper Callum Mullan-Young, snapping up 11 of his 15 kickouts in the opening period.
Glen didn’t use their Aussie Rules star Conor Glass in the end, a contractual stipulation from club Hawthorn preventing them, but while they nibbled into Magherafelt’s lead in the closing stages, hadn’t enough to ever draw level.
Magherafelt: O Lynch; S McErlain, D O’Neill, G Lupari; C McCluskey (0-1), F Duffin, C Kearns; J Monaghan, D Heavron; P McLarnon (0-1), S Heavron (0-5, 0-4f), J Young (0-1); A McElhone (0-1), C Murphy, E McGuckin (0-3). Subs: M Lynch for McElhone (45 mins), D Martin for McLarnon (50), J Keenan for Lupari (57), S Óg Monghan for Young (59).
Glen Watty Graham’s: C Mullan-Young; O McGill, R Dougan, O Hegarty; C Mullholland, C Carville, E Doherty; C McFaul, E Bradley (0-1, 0-1f); C McGuckian, J Doherty (0-1), D Tallon (0-4); P Gunning (0-1, 0-1f), A Doherty (0-4), C McCabe. Subs: S O’Hara for McGuckian (43 mins), T Flanagan for O’Hara (50), C Convery for Gunning (57), C Bradley for McCabe (61).
Referee: John Joe Cleary (Castledawson)