BLAYNEY VICTORY SHOWS THE WAY FOR MONAGHAN

31 October 2014 No Comments by The Northern Standard

byrneFive Monaghan teams are in Ulster Club Football Championship action this weekend, having been shown the way by Castleblayney’s hurlers last Sunday. Castleblayney won their second Ulster Club Junior Hurling Championship title with a dominant second-half performance against Na Magha in Dungannon. Blayney, who had goals by Niall Garland and Fergal Rafter in the first half, changed ends on level terms, but were soon in the driving seat after the Derry City club had Breandán Quigley sent off.

With Hugh Byrne and Rafter taking their personal tallies to 0-7 and 1-3 respectively and Tony Forde coming off the bench to hit 2-1, Blayney went on to power on to a convincing win against a Na Magha side who finished with 13 men after Mark McShane was shown a straight red card late on. It was Blayney’s first title at this level in nine years and a first for a Monaghan club since Inniskeen won it in 2010. This Sunday is a busy day of Ulster club action. Clontibret will attempt to build on their preliminary-round win over Kilcoo when they take on another seasoned team at this level, St. Gall’s, in Clones. St. Gall’s got past Clontibret in a 2009 Ulster semi-final on their way to provincial and All-Ireland silverware and they have been perennial contenders in the last decade or so.

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, once again seeing off the challenge of Cargin in the final. The Kilmacud All-Ireland Sevens winners have CJ McGourty and Michael Pollock in good form in attack, while other players with county senior experience include Chris Kerr, Colin Brady, Seán Kelly, Aodhán Gallagher, Kevin Niblock and Anto Healy.

Clontibret – no novices at this level themselves – have been up to every challenge presented to them so far and they won’t be fazed by this one, particularly on the familiar turf of St. Tiernach’s Park, where they regained the county title in dramatic fashion against Scotstown last month. The O’Neills have two 2014 All-Star nominees in Dessie Mone and Conor McManus, who both made vital contributions last time out, while Vincent Corey, Colum Greenan and Conor Boyle will also play key roles. The curtain-raiser to that game is Inniskeen’s Ulster Club IFC quarter-final against Cootehill. Inniskeen have …

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