Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Uladh

AIB Ulster Club SFC: Scotstown win thriller

November 28th, 2023

AIB Ulster Club SFC Semi-Final

Scotstown 0-17 Trillick 1-13 AET


Scotstown came through an extra-time thriller to book their place in the AIB Ulster Club Senior Football Championship final for the first time since 2018, edging out Tyrone champions Trillick at the BOX-It Athletic Grounds on Sunday.

They chiselled out the vital scores in the most intense of pressure situations, shading a memorable tie which had been level on seven occasions.

Jack McCarron and Shane Carey converted late frees to swing the tie in favour of the Monaghan champions

Scotstown, playing with wind advantage, wasted a number of early opportunities, with Jack McCarron hitting a handful of wides, but they were solid at the back and patient in breaking down a packed Trillick defence.

Darren Hughes got on plenty of ball around that central area, along with Shane Carey and Kieran Hughes, and they eased into a two points lead through Emmet Caulfield and Shane Carey.

Scotstown’s strong press on the Trillick kick-out helped them maintain the pressure, with goalkeeper Rory Beggan helping them dominate possession.

After failing to score in the opening quarter, the Tyrone champions built steadily, with Richie Donnelly an emerging and influential figure around the middle, thumping over a long range point to get his side going, and setting up another for Ciaran Daly.

The Monaghan men had a reply on each occasion, Hughes again breaking lines for Donal Morgan to split the posts, and when McCarron struck a majestic score, they led by 0-6 to 0-3 on 26 minutes.

Seanie O’Donnell set the game alight with a stoppage time 1-1 salvo in a 30-second flash.

Beggan’s kick-outs had been impeccable, but he was ruthlessly punished for a rare lapse, James Garrity intercepting to send O’Donnell in to hit the net for a 1-4 to 0-6 interval lead.

McCarron drifted deep to create space and the assist for Mattie Maguire to narrow the gap, and shot his side back in front with a difficult free inside five minutes of the restart.

Newly awarded All-Star wing back Conor McCarthy had been well shackled, but finally produced one of his searing ruins to send Michael McCarville through to cancel out James Garrity’s point

The Monaghan champions went two clear going into the final quarter, Caulfield and Jason Carey combining to send Maguire in for his second

But the Reds, with the wind in their backs, nailed four of the next five scores, two of them from Lee Brennan, who edged his side back in front on 54 minutes.

Darren Hughes and Rory Brennan put their bodies on the line in vital turnovers for their respective sides, as the tension built in Armagh city.

It was Hughes who sent full back Ryan O’Toole in for the equaliser, before Lee Brennan’s 45′ had Trillick ahead with just seconds remaining.

McCarthy’s class shone right at the death, circling on the loop to take Shane Carey’s pass and tie it up at 0-13 to 1-10 with the very last kick.

Kieran Hughes and McCarron helped the Farney champions to a 0-15 to 1-11 lead midway through the added stretch., Lee Brennan levelled for a seventh time as Trillick stuck tight to the pre-match favourites.

Scotstown: R Beggan (0-1, ’45); B Boylan, R O’Toole (0-1), D McArdle; C McCarthy (0-1), D Morgan (0-1), E Caulfield (0-1); D Hughes, M McCarville (0-1); J Carey, S Carey (0-3, 2fs), J Hamill; M Maguire (0-2), K Hughes (0-2), J McCarron (0-4, 3f).

Subs: M McPhillips for Hamill (49), D Murray for J Carey (52), R McKenna for Maguire (61), R Malley for Morgan (61), J Carey for Malley (74), Hamill for Caulfield (81).

Trillick: J Maguire; S O’Donnell, P McCaughey, D Tunney; S O’Donnell (1-1), R Brennan (0-1), D Gallagher; R Donnelly (0-1), L Gray; C Daly (0-1), N Donnelly, R Gray (0-1); D Donnelly (0-1), L Brennan (0-5, 3f, 1 ’45), J Garrity (0-1).

Subs: C Garrity (0-1) for N Donnelly (37), D McQuaid for Tunney (47), D Kelly for Gallagher (76), P Courtney for R Gray (82)

Referee: K Faloon (Armagh).

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