Ulster SFC round-up: Biting allegation overshadows Crossmaglen win

Meanwhile Kilcoo, Trillick and Scotstown also advanced to semi-finals

 Crossmaglen’s Johnny Hanratty celebrates scoring the winning goal as his side beat Erins Own to advance to the Ulster SFC semi-finals. Photo: Inpho

Crossmaglen’s Johnny Hanratty celebrates scoring the winning goal as his side beat Erins Own to advance to the Ulster SFC semi-finals. Photo: Inpho


Crossmaglen 2-15 Cargin 0-13

Crossmaglen’s first victory in the Ulster SFC in three years has been overshadowed by allegations of a biting incident during Sunday’s quarter-final in the Athletic Grounds.

Antrim champions Cargin are claiming that a 36th minute brawl involving around a dozen players erupted after their county midfielder, Michael McCann, was bitten.

Cargin manager John Brennan confirmed he did not see the incident but was informed about it afterwards by some of his players.

“One of our players, Michael McCann, was reportedly bitten,” stated Brennan.

“I didn’t see it, I was too far away, but some of our players were very aggrieved about it and Michael has a mark on his neck.”

Crossmaglen were leading 0-10 to 0-8 when tempers flared and it took a minute for order to be restored.

Referee Joe McQuillan subsequently booked Gerard McCann (Cargin) and James Morgan (Crossmaglen).

McCann was later sent-off after picking up a second yellow card in the 52nd minute, a dismissal which took the sting out of Cargin’s gutsy fightback.

Second-half goals from Johnny Murtagh and Johnny Hanratty helped Cross negotiate a tricky hurdle.

Beaten at this stage by Kilcoo and Omagh in the last two years, they looked nervous early on and also rocked, perhaps, by the absence of injured midfielder David McKenna, they trailed by 0-4 to 0-1 after eight minutes.

Cargin went direct and it paid off with Ciaran Close and Michael Magill hugely influential up front for the Antrim champions.

Cross moved Rico Kelly from full-forward to midfield and they began to establish a foothold in the game.

Points Johnny Hanratty, Tony Kernan (free) and Mickey McNamee got them back into it and Cargin squandered several opportunities to stretch their lead, hitting four first-half wides and dropping a couple of efforts short.

Magill was on fire, nailing a 45 and then slinging a point over his shoulder from a difficult angle.

Michael McCann was on target with a 40m point to put Cargin 0-7 to 0-4 ahead in the 28th minute but Crossmaglen, so well versed in Ulster club combat, finished the first half brilliantly with three quick-fire points to go in level at the break.

Frees from Aaron and Tony Kernan reduced the gap and in stoppage-time, Mickey McNamee capitalised on a poor kick-out and pointed from close range.

Cargin should have been ahead at that stage but Cross had the momentum now. Within seconds of the restart, Aaron Kernan popped over a left-footed free to put his team in front for the first time.

His brother Tony converted a 45 to put them two points clear and then tensions boiled over in the 36th minute with a spat involving roughly a dozen players.

Crossmaglen settled quickest after the row and when Cargin lost possession around their own 45, Murtagh ran through and unleashed a fierce shot which flew past the ‘keeper’s outstretched left arm to give Cross a 1-10 to 0-8 lead after 39t minutes.

Joint-manager Oisin McConville was unhappy about some aspects of his team’s performance but described their play in the opening 10 minutes of the second half as “some of the best football we have played all year”.

Cargin refused to buckle, however, and Magill led the fightback with another ‘45’ and a superb score from the wing.

They were back within a score, trailing 1-13 to 0-13, with nine minutes remaining but never recovered from going down to 14 men.

They did manage one last ditch attack but James Laverty’s shot across goal flashed just wide, and sub Michael Clarke unable to connect with it as it flew out over the goal line.

Crossmaglen sub Oisin O’Neill scored 0-3 in the last quarter and with a minute to go, Stephen Kernan’s clever low pass set up Hanratty for a second goal to set up a semi-final rematch against Down champions Kilcoo.

Crossmaglen: P Hearty; P Hughes, A Rushe, P McKeown; S Finnegan, M Aherne, J Morgan; J Hanratty (1-1), A Kernan (0-3, 2f); M McNamee (0-2), S Kernan (0-2), T Kernan (0-4, 2f, 1 ‘45’); J Murtagh (1-0), R Kelly, K Carragher. Subs: G Carragher for Finnegan (29), O O’Neill (0-3) for Murtagh (41), A Cunningham for Kelly (50), P Stuttard for McNamee (53), K Brennan for K Carragher (56).

Cargin: C O’Reilly; M Kane, J Laverty, K O’Boyle; T Scullion (0-1), J Crozier, J Carron; M McCann (0-2), G McCann; P McCann, T McCann (0-2, 1f), E McGrogan; R McKernan, C Close (0-3, 1f), M Magill (0-5, 2 ‘45’). Subs: M Kelly for McGrogan (38), B Laverty for P McCann (41), M Clarke for T McCann (55).

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).

Naomh Conaill 1-11 Trillick 2-9

Trillick narrowly held on for a one point victory over 14-man Naomh Conaill in a rip-roaring Ulster Club Championship quarter final at MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey on Sunday.

The Tyrone champions led by six points at half-time but saw that lead wiped out shortly after the midway point of the second half with substitute Dara Gallagher and goalscorer, Ciaran Thompson, doing the damage for Naomh Conaill.

However, Trillick dug deep and a couple of late scores from Lee Brennan and the excellent Richard Donnelly saw them over the line.

Trillick, playing in their first Ulster club tie in 29 years, led by six points at half time, 2-4 to 0-4.

Their first goal came after only two minutes - Niall Gormley firing to the net after Lee Brennan’s free came back off the post.

The Tyrone champions showed little sign of any nerves and their prospects were boosted when Naomh Conaill’s Anthony Thompson was shown a straight red card.

Naomh Conaill then lost their experienced free taker, Dermot ‘Brick’ Molloy to injury soon after and points from Richard Donnelly and Gormley saw Trillick lead 1-2 to 0-2.

Naomh Conaill did do well to keep in touch with frees from Brendan McDyer and John O’Malley. However, Trillick always carried a threat coming forward and the impressive Mattie Donnelly and Lee Brennan scored delightful points before Daire Gallagher finished off a wonderful move to score Trillick’s second goal just before the break.

The Donegal men brought on the experienced Dara Gallagher at half time and he made an immediate impact, scoring a wonderful point within 15 seconds of the restart.

Naomh Conaill’s Johnny McLoone added another point before Ciaran Thompson cracked home an unstoppable effort to close the gap to three points, 2-6 to 1-6.

Dara Gallagher hit five points for Naomh Conaill, who, despite being a man down, took the game to their opponents in the closing stages.

But they perhaps left themselves with just too much to do and while they outscored the winners by 1-7 to five points in the second half, they just couldn’t find a late equalising score as Trillick won by the minimum.

Naomh Conaill: S McGrath; A Thompson, AJ Gallagher, K McGettigan; M Boyle, A Thompson, E Waide; C Thompson (1-0), L McLoone; E O’Donnell, E Doherty, J O’Malley (0-1, f); B McDyer (0-1, f), D Molloy (0-1, f), L Thompson (0-1). Subs: C Ellis for D Molloy (15), J McLoone (0-2) for O’Donnell (19); D Gallagher (0-5, 3f) for AJ Gallagher (half time); S Corcoran for O’Malley (53); E O’Donnell for McDyer (53), B McDyer for Doherty (58).

Trillick: J Maguire; S O’Donnell, R Kelly, D Kelly; N Donnelly, R Brennan, D McDonnell; R Donnelly (0-2), E Gormley; M Donnelly (0-1), P O’Kane, S Kelly; N Gormley (1-2), L Brennan (0-4, 2f), D Gallagher (1-0). Subs: S Gormley for E Gormley (44), F Donnelly for McDonnell (48).

Referee: N Mooney (Cavan).

Scotstown 1-15 Slaughtneil 0-15

A hungrier, sharper Scotstown proved too potent for Derry champions Slaughtneil in this thrill-a-minute spectacular that built to a sizzling climax in Clones yesterday afternoon.

Conditions were excellent and both sides produced some excellent football with Scotstown laying the foundations for victory in the final 10 minutes of the first half.

The game started at a cracking pace and with the sides exchanging scores regularly after Slaughtneil opened through Christopher Bradley after just 90 seconds.

Over the next 15 minutes it was tit-for-tat with the sides level on five occasions, Darren Hughes giving Slaughtneil fullback Brendan Rogers a veritable roasting. Hughes finished the half with 1-4 as he hit the reigning Ulster champions with 1-2 inside three blistering minutes to put the Monaghan champions five in front and Slaughtneil’s gruelling schedule looking as if it was beginning to take its toll.

Kieran Hughes too had a big influence in defence with his scorching pace setting up a number of counter attacks that kept the Derry men on the back foot. Scotstown were ahead by six points going into stoppage time with Slaughtneil pulling back two late points through Se McGuigan and a Paul Bradley free to leave four in it at the break, Scotstown 1-9 Slaughtneil 0-8.

Slaughtneil came out with renewed determination for the second half and carried the game to Scotstown in an electric third quarter although they were unable to translate their superiority into scores but by the 50th minute they had the margin down to the minimum, the accuracy of Paul Bradley and Christopher Bradley playing a huge part in their resurgence.

From there to the finish though Scotstown regained the initiative with Conor McCarthy converting two frees and Orin Heaphey picking off an opportunist point from play to edge them three clear with two minutes remaining but try as they might Slaughtneil could not engineer the goal that would have put the issue to extra time and so surrendered their provincial crown.

Scotstown: R Beggan 0-2 (1f,’45), D McArdle, E Caulfield, P Sherlock, F McPhillips, K Hughes, D Morgan, F Caulfield, J Turley, O Heaphey 0-2, P Keenan, C McCarthy 0-5 (3f), S Carey 0-2 (2f), D Hughes 1-4, R McKenna. Subs: B McGinnity for R McKenna (43), B Boylan for F McPhillips (51), D McCague for D Hughes (Black Card (60).

Slaughtneil: A McMullan, F McEldowney, B Rodgers, K McKaigue, P McNeill, C McKaigue, B McGuigan, Patsy Bradley, P Cassidy, P Kelly, Paul Bradley 0-7 (6f), R Bradley 0-1, C Bradley0-4 (1f), Se McGuigan 0-1, S Cassidy. Subs: Shane McGuigan 0-2 for P Kelly (35), M McGrath for Patsy Bradley (40).

Referee: C Brannigan (Down).

Kingscourt Stars 0-5 Kilcoo 3-15

Kilcoo sent out a potent message after booking their place in the Ulster SFC semi-finals in ruthless fashion.

The Down champions will meet Crossmaglen next time out after a hugely impressive display at Kingspan/Breffni Park.

Classy points from Jerome Johnston (Kilcoo) and Barry Reilly (Kingscourt) added some flavour as the sides shared six points by the 19th minute.

However once Down star Conor Laverty put the four-in-a-row Mourne title winners ahead in the 20th minute, their lead was never threatened.

Kilcoo grabbed their first goal in the 25th minute when Laverty fisted the ball across the face of the Kingscourt square for the in-running Paul Devlin to palm the ball to the net.

Defending a 1-7 to 0-4 cushioned half-time lead, Kilcoo refused to remove their foot from their hosts’ throat.

Livewire corner forward Jerome Johnston fired home shortly after the break to add further salt into Kingscourt’s gaping wound.

Kingscourt just couldn’t lay a glove on their far superior opponents and it was heads-in-hands time when Barry Reilly shot ove the bar, despite having a good chance to make it three points.

Kingscourt’s woes were multiplied by the dismissal of their stand-out defender Padraig Faulkner before Paul Greenan notched Kilcoon’s last goal two minutes later.

Daryl Branagan saw red late on but it was the only black spot on a luminous day for the black and red brigade.

Kingscourt Stars: G Sheenan; R Sheridan, P Faulkner, S Gray; B Tully, A Clarke, N McIntyre; B Reilly (0-3, 1f), C Gorman; P Tinnelly, P Corrigan, K McCabe; C McArdle (0-2,2 f), C McGowan, R Carey. Subs: P Smith for C McGowan (28); K Smith for C Gorman (38); D Gunne for R Carey (44); T Reilly for P Tinnelly (44); M McGovern for N McIntyre (54); JP Reilly for S Gray (58).

Kilcoo: S Kane; N Branagan, A Branagan, D Branagan; A Branagan, D O’Hanlon (0-5, 3f), JJ McLoughlan; D McEvoy, A Morgan; R Johnston, P Devlin (1-2), M Devlin; J Johnston (1-2), P Greenan (1-0), C Laverty (0-5). Subs: J McClean for A Morgan (42); D Kane (0-1) for M Devlin (44); F McGreevy for D McEvoy (44); G McEvoy for J Johnston (48); Gerard McEvoy for R Johnston (50); Sean O’Hanlon for P Greenan (51).

Referee: B Cassidy (Derry)

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