Gaoth Dobhair and Naomh Éanna claim AIB Ulster Club titles
There was no quarter asked or given in Healy Park yesterday as Donegal champions, Gaoth Dobhair became the first Donegal winners of the Seamus MacFerran Cup since 1975, claiming the club’s first AIB Ulster Football Senior Club title.
There was little to choose between the teams throughout an evenly matched contest with the sides trading scores and the lead over the course of normal time and then 20 minutes of extra-time.
The first half was a cagey affair, attritional certainly as neither team took a backward step. The game sprung to life after 20 minutes as the quality notably increased in spite of the wintry conditions.
Scotstown picked up the tempo after the break and opened up a three point lead in the opening with Shane Carey and the Hughes brothers, Darren and Kieran prominent.
Gaoth Dobhair dug in and fought back with Kevin Cassidy leading the line brilliantly in attack and Odhrán MacNiallais pulling the strings from deep. It was MacNaillais who eventually forced extra-time scoring the equaliser a couple of minutes from time.
Scotstown began extra-time faster, taking an early lead but points from James Ó Baoill and Shane Ferry pushed Gaoth Dobhair into the lead and into the history books as they claimed a famous 0-13 to 0-12 victory.
On Saturday night Antrim Intermediate champions Naomh Éanna saw off the challenge of Cavan’s Mullahoran to claim the AIB Ulster Football Intermediate Club title thanks to a 2-11 to 1-10 victory.
Spear-headed by the excellent Joe Maskey at midfield, Naomh Éanna dictated the pace for much of the first half and went in at half-time leading by three points thanks in no small part to an Eoin Nagle goal.
Mullahoran began the second half the stronger and got within a point of Naomh Éanna. There was just two points between the sides when Mullahoran’s Cormac Reilly rattled the Antrim side’s crossbar. Seconds later the ball was in the Mullahoran net, Maskey making no mistake on the end of the counter attack.
After that Naomh Éanna held the Cavan side at arms length, a late Enda O’Reilly penalty got Mullahoran back within four points but that was as close as they could get.
It was Naomh Éanna’s night and James McAuley gladly claimed the McCully Cup on the steps of the Athletic Grounds.