Ulster SFC: Gweedore rout Crossmaglen to reach maiden final
Daire O’Baoill’s first-half hat-trick sets up a heavy win for Donegal side at Healy Park
Crossmaglen’s Rian O’Neill tackles Niall MacAoidh during Gweedore’s heavy Ulster SFC semi-final win. Photograph: Declan Roughan/Inpho
Gweedore (Donegal) 4-11 Crossmaglen (Armagh) 0-16
Gweedore crushed Crossmaglen to qualify for their first Ulster Club SFC final with a goal rush at Healy Park.
Midfielder Daire O’Baoill fired in a spectacular first half hat-trick to send the Donegal men on their way, and despite the brilliance of Cross attacker Rian O’Neill, they maintained a comfortable lead throughout.
Cross finished with 13 men, after Johnny Hanratty (2 yellow) and O’Neill (straight red) were sent off in the second half.
O Baoill’s searing pace saw him sprint through for a brilliant opening goal on eight minutes, and he repeated the dose four minutes later, with the excellent Odhran MacNiallais stretching the advantage to seven points.
Gweedore were awarded a penalty for Garvin Carragher’s foul on Cian Mulligan, and O’Baoill stepped up to complete his hat-trick from the spot.
Trailing by nine, the Rangers piled on the pressure in the closing stages of the half, hitting four points, three of them from Rian O’Neill, to trail by 3-5 to 0-9 at the break, and they lost Hanratty to a second booking two minutes after the restart.
Full forward Cassidy reacted fastest to smash home another goal, seizing the rebound as a MacNiallais effort came back off post, and the men from the north west were in dreamland.
Now they led by eight, and Crossmaglen could find no way to dig themselves out of a massive hole. Skipper Niall Friel, Eamonn Collum and MacNiallais added to Gweedore’s riches as they stayed a comfortable distance from an opponent growing in desperation and approaching the point of despair.
Rian O’Neill, Oisin O’Neill and Kyle Carragher pulled back scores, but they never looked like getting close against a Gweedore defence in which Eamonnn McGee and Niall Friel excelled.
Rian O’Neill’s straight red card in stoppage time completed the misery for Cross.
Gweedore: C Sweeney; G McFadden, N McGee, C McFadden; N Friel (0-1), E McGee, O McFadden-Ferry; D O Baoill (3-0, 1 pen), O MacNiallais (0-4, 1f); C Mulligan (0-1), N O Baoill, D McBride; E Collum (0-2, 1f), K Cassidy (1-2), M Carroll. Subs: Peter Hughes for McBride (42), S Carroll for Collum (46), S O Baoill for McFadden-Ferry (51), S Ferry (0-1) for M Carroll (57)
Crossmaglen: J McEvoy; R Kelly, A Farrelly, G Carragher; A Kernan, J Morgan, P Hughes; S Morris, O O’Neill (0-3, 1f); J McKeever, R O’Neill (0-8, 5f), J Hanratty (0-2); C Cumiskey, T Kernan (0-2, 1f), K Carragher (0-1). Subs: A Rushe for G Carragher (27), D McKenna for Cumiskey (h-t), P Stuttard for Hughes (47), C McConville for T Kernan (47), M Boyce for K Carragher (57)
Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan).