23 October 2014 No Comments by The Northern Standard


Clontibret stole the headlines on the
double last week as the Ulster Club championships moved up a
gear for Monaghan’s representatives. by COLM SHALVEY

Last Sunday will live long in the memory of Clontibret fans, after two of their senior teams won Ulster Club Championship games. The dust had barely settled on Clontibret’s Monaghan Senior Football Championship win, but they took another major step forward when they once again stunned a fancied team and the bookies.

Clontibret had been outsiders in the county final against Scotstown and it was a similar story in the run-up to Sunday’s clash with Kilcoo at Páirc Esler. Clontibret were up against the three-in-a-row Down champions, who had serious ambitions of winning the Ulster title after going close in the last years. Clontibret’s odds would have lengthened further when Paul McGuigan was dismissed for yellow and black card offences in the first half, but their defensive system frustrated Kilcoo in what developed into a battle of attrition. The accuracy of Conor McManus was unsurprisingly crucial in keeping the Monaghan champions in touch: the 2013 All-Star has now hit 1-34 of Clontibret’s 2-47 in his time on the pitch in their 2014 SFC run; maintaining his percentage of his team’s scores at close to 70%. A rare missed free by McManus late on looked to have spelled the end for Clontibret, but as in the county final, they didn’t accept defeat and a last-gasp goal by another All-Star nominee, Dessie Mone, claimed a dramatic win for the O’Neills.
There is still a long road ahead for Clontibret to reach a first Ulster Club SFC Final since 1994, as they now go into a quarter-final against Antrim kingpins St. Gall’s on Sunday week. The Belfast club’s recent dominance of their county championship is eclipsed only by Crossmaglen in Armagh, as they recently won an eighth consecutive title and a 13th in the last 14 years. The curtain-raiser to that game in Clones will be Inniskeen’s Ulster Club IFC clash with Cootehill, who had a fairly convincing win over Antrim side Portglenone in last Sunday’s preliminary-round clash at Breffni Park.
There was more joy in Moy for Clontibret’s camogs, who retained the Bridie McMenamin Shield with a hard-earned win over Laragh from Cavan. Marie Greenan and Player of the Match Michelle Morgan hit Clontibret’s entire tally of 1-12 between them to secure back-to-back Ulster Junior Championships, but it was a real team effort, according to their manager Ned McCann (see quotes in match report). A spirited and strong defensive effort, particularly when playing against the wind in the second half, came in for praise from McCann, who is a long-serving hurler for Clontibret.
Castleblayney’s hurlers will attempt …

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