21 November 2014 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan clubs had mixed fortunes in big championship games last weekend, with Clontibret losing, Inniskeen winning and Monaghan Harps ladies managing both in less than 48 hours. by COLM SHALVEY

The county’s wait for a first AIB Ulster Club Senior Football Championship title since 1991 goes on after Clontibret lost their semi-final against Slaughtneil in Omagh last Sunday.

Clontibret were as experienced as any of the four teams in the semi-finals a wide-open championship minus big hitters like Crossmaglen, Ballinderry and Glenswilly – having themselves already knocked out Kilcoo and St. Gall’s – but they were outplayed by Slaughtneil at Healy Park. Slaughtneil won only their second Derry SFC when they dethroned Ulster Club champions Ballinderry in the most dramatic circumstances last month, but they looked like seasoned campaigners in a composed and mature performance.

Slaughtneil may have been slightly disappointed to be only two points up (0-5 to 0-3) at the end of a first half in which they played most of the football, but they put daylight between the teams after the restart when Francis McEldowney cleverly created the only goal of the game for Christopher Bradley. Clontibret had kept clean sheets in their previous two games, but conceding this one was a hammer blow.

Conor McManus had been averaging 70% of Clontibret’s scores during his time on the pitch in the 2014 SFC and that rose further to 1-47 out of 2-64 after Sunday, when he was his team’s only scorer with six points until substitute Fergal Greenan kicked a late consolation.

The Monaghan champions failed to reach the heights that took them as far as Sunday’s semi-final and they didn’t manage a shot from play until the 24th minute, when Dessie Mone’s attempt went wide off an upright. With Karl and Chrissy McKaigue shadowing McManus and Vincent Corey at all times, Patsy Bradley on top at midfield and Paul Bradley kicking six …


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