AGONY, ECSTASY FOR MONAGHAN IN AIB ULSTER CLUB FOOTBALL FINALS

4 December 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan’s representatives in last Sunday’s AIB Ulster Club Finals experienced contrasting fortunes, with Scotstown going so close to completing a remarkable double just a few hours after Rockcorry thrilled their supporters with a famous victory. by COLM SHALVEY

The double-header treated the crowd of nearly 9,000 in Armagh to some brilliant drama, starting with Rockcorry’s deserved JFC Final win over Faughanvale. Rock were in command of this junior decider throughout, even if their goal lived a charmed life at times, as they became the fifth Monaghan club to take the Paul Kerr Cup back to the county.

Rock showed few nerves on the big stage and they led from start to finish, with a 1-6 to 0-2 half-time cushion giving them a good foundation to run out convincing winners. Faughanvale did create a number of goal chances, but Aaron Cassidy, Odhrán McKinney and Eunan Murray were all denied by Jamie Smith and even when Rock’s in-form goalkeeper misjudged a high ball in on 19 minutes, it went unpunished as Martin McGuinness sent it just wide. The Derry side’s player-manager also Joe Gray hit the side-netting inside the final quarter. Rock, in contrast, were clinical with their efforts on goal, as Mark McGuirk, Fergal McGeough and substitute Martin Carroll all hit majors.

McGeough (Rock’s top scorer in Ulster with 1-16) starred throughout, always providing an outlet in the full-forward line and capping his 1-3 tally with a cracking goal, while McGuirk and Lorcan Smyth were also busy up front. Mark Thornton and Mark Daly were on top at midfield and Niall McKeown and Johnny Reilly led the way as Faughanvale’s forwards were restricted to just four points from play.

There was a magic moment for Mickey Morgan’s men at the end when veteran Anthony Tate kicked the final point from a free to start the Rockcorry party. After an impressive campaign to date, which was seen them go eight games unbeaten, they have every chance of progressing in the All-Ireland series early next year.

Scotstown then went agonisingly close to becoming the first Monaghan club to win the Ulster senior title since 1991 when they lost to Crossmaglen in an extra-time epic. The teams ignored dreadful conditions to produce a classic Ulster Club game, full of…

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