The first Football action of the 2017 AIB Ulster Club Championships took place on Sunday 15th October with preliminary round matches in the Senior, Intermediate & Junior competitions.
Despite a large number of County football finals on across the province, over 4500 spectators made their way to Páirc Esler, Newry for the game of the day between Kilcoo & reigning champions Slaughtneil. This was a repeat of last year’s senior final and it provided the a tense battle that could have gone either way right up until added time. In the end, it was the South Derry men who came out on top with a hard fought 1-11 to 0-12 victory.
Kilcoo started the more forceful of the two sides but after weathering the storm that included a red card for each side, Slaughtneil lead at the break 0-7 to 0-4. Patsy Bradley’s goal helped them to a commanding 1-11 to 0-9 with 51 minutes played but the Magpies pressed strongly towards the end with a number of goal scoring threats, including a missed penalty. In the end, it was the Emmett’s who hung on to go forward to a quarter final showdown with newly crowned Tyrone Champions, Omagh St. Enda’s.
The Intermediate & Junior games were both played out at Kingspan Breffni, with Cavan sides drawn at home in both grades. Newbridge (Derry) proved to have too much fire power for Shercock (Cavan) in the Intermediate game, running out comfortable winners in the end on a 2-20 to 2-7 scoreline. Shercock held the upper hand initially and Ryan Clerkin’s goal helped them to a 1-6 to 0-8 at the end of a first half that saw three black cards for Newbridge. However, it was the Oak Leafers who stepped it up a gear early in the second half and sped to a 1-14 to 1-6 lead after Mark McGrogan’s major in the 44th minute. The home team never gave up and tagged on two goals of their own but the result was never really in doubt as Newbridge progressed to the quarter final in two weeks.
The was a better result for the ‘home’ team in the Junior game as Ballymachugh outran Sarsfield’s from Antrim by 0-14 to 0-9. The game was nip and tuck with only a point between the sides up until early in the second half but it was the Cavan champions who stretched ahead hitting six unanswered scores. Both sides were reduced to 14 men before the end of the game but the Breffni men were worth their 5 point victory and deservedly progress to meet Donegal’s Naomh Colmcille on Saturday 28th October.
Full details of the Ulster Club Championships can be found on our website – http://ulster.gaa.ie/ulsterclub2017/
Photo Credits: Sportsfile