Ulster Interfirms Senior Football Championship Final:
Ulster GAA (Armagh) 3-8 McAleer & Rushe (Tyrone) 1-8
Ulster GAA continued their rich success in the Inter-Firms competition last night by adding the Ulster SFC Cup to their trophy cabinet.
In 2006 the Armagh based firm won the Ulster Junior title, before going on to beat Limerick Garda in the All-Ireland Junior Final.
Goals proved to be the key in what was a keenly contested affair at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena Cookstown. Ulster GAA won the toss, and elected to play with the breeze in the first half. This proved to be a wise decision, and early goals from Ruairi Convery and Paul Rouse gave the Armagh side a lead they would never relinquish.
McAleer and Rushe competed strongly for the remainder of the second half, particularly around midfield where Mick McCann and Paul Marlow were to the fore. The Tyrone man responded with a few well taken points, but Paul Rouse toe-poked his second goal to leave the score 3-2 to 0-3 at half time.
The second half was again played at high intensity, with McAleer & Rushe chasing the deficit. There was a lot of pressure put on the Ulster GAA defence early in the second half, and they weathered the storm well, restricting McAleer & Rushe to shooting from long range. With 10 minutes remaining, McAleer & Rushe were given a lifeline, as the referee awarded them a penalty following a foul on Mick McCann, who had now moved into full forward. McCann stepped up to take the penalty himself, but only to see it excellently saved by Paul Callaghan.
The penalty save seemed to spur on the Armagh men, and with Stephen Beattie and Ryan Mellon beginning to dominate in midfield, they were able to hold on for a great victory.
On acceptance of the Cup, Ulster GAA captain Stephen Donnelly paid tribute to McAleer & Rushe for a great final, and assured them that his team would do their utmost to proudly represent the Province in the All-Ireland series.
Ulster GAA will now enter the All-Ireland semi-finals with the 3 other Provincial winners. Fixtures, dates and venues are yet to be confirmed.