The Latton O’Rahillys and Magheracloone show

19 November 2010 No Comments by The Northern Standard

The curtain is soon to come down on another club season in Monaghan, with only the Senior and Intermediate Football League Finals to be played, writes COLM SHALVEY

he Drumlin Group of Credit Unions Senior Football League Final takes centre stage this Sunday in Corduff. This is the latest instalment of the rivalry between Latton and Magheracloone. The sides both emerged as real forces in Monaghan football in the last decade and they have clashed regularly at the business end of the season in recent years. The most-documented and controversial of those was the infamous 2007 SFL semi-final, which was abandoned, leading to both clubs being thrown out of the competition.

It’s worth remembering, however, that they have also provided plenty of entertainment, including the county final in 2005, the ’06 league decider and further championship games in ’06, ’07 and ’08. The ’07 SFC clash went to a replay plus extra-time and was typical of the closeness between the teams. To prove how evenly-matched they are, just a point separated them in their two league meetings this year, as a late score from Kieran Duffy gave Latton the narrowest of wins in July, after they had played out a low-scoring draw in April.

These clubs led a significant shift in power in the county from the traditional big guns between 2004 and 2008, as they lifted three out of five Senior Football Championships after Castleblayney, Scotstown, Clontibret and Ballybay had shared the previous 55 county titles between them. Clontibret have, of course, come back with a vengeance – winning four of the last five championships – but Latton and Magheracloone continue to challenge consistently for senior honours.

Latton won the Mick Duffy Cup in 2005 and 2008 and they also reached county finals in ’03 and ’09, while Magheracloone can consider themselves unfortunate not to have added to their sole success in ’04, as they lost deciders in ’02, ’05, ’06 and this year (two of those defeats coming after replays against Clontibret). The league may have slipped down the list of priorities for the teams in recent years, but it has been an important stepping stone in their development, as both won it before going on to take championship glory. Magheracloone won the Owen Ward Cup in 1999 and 2001, while Latton followed suit by winning three leagues from four between ’03 and ’06.

Magheracloone have clearly taken the league seriously this year, as they have been among the pace-setters throughout the campaign. The Mitchells finished top of the table, ahead of Monaghan Harps because of a superior head-to-head record. Ciarán Conlon’s side also reached the championship final, only to lose in heartbreaking circumstances after a replay, so they can justifiably claim to have been the most consistent team in senior ranks this season.

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