Feature: Provincial past masters

GL placement student Oisín Duddy looks back on how Ulster teams have fared in the All-Ireland SFC club series…

2013:  Ballinderry Shamrocks

THIS was Ballinderry’s first Ulster title since 2001 thanks to their win against Glenswilly (Donegal) on a scoreline of 1-13 to 2-6. They later played the London champions Kingdom Kerry Gaels in the All-Ireland quarter-final with the Derry side winning 3-9 to 2-7. Their time in the All-Ireland series was cut short with a defeat from Dublin’s St Vincent’s who later won the All-Ireland, their third All-Ireland Senior Football Championship title.

2014:  Sleacht Néill

THIS was Sleacht Néill’s first time winning an Ulster Championship, coming with a win over Omagh’s, St Enda’s with a point deep into injury time from Christopher Bradley following a build-up from their own 14-metre line getting them over the finish line. Sleacht Néill came close to losing the All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry’s Austin Stacks, with the Derry side conceding two early goals from Stacks player Pa McCarthy. But Sleacht Néill were fiercely determined to be in the final for St Patrick’s Day and got the win with Cormac O’Doherty being the hero with a winning point in the 58th minute. Sleacht Néill came up against an experienced Corofin and they lost out to the classy Connacht side by 1-14 to 0-7.

2015:  Crossmaglen Rangers

WITH their last All-Ireland being three years prior, Cross were hungry for an All-Ireland once more and they came up trumps in Ulster when they beat Scotstown, Kyle Carragher getting a late goal and Tony Kernan scoring two points in the dying stages of the match, as the South Armagh men lifted the Seamus McFerran Cup for the eleventh time with five points between the teams. They fell short in the All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo’s Castlebar Mitchel’s in a nail-biting game with Brian Moran scoring a dramatic late point to give the Mitchel’s their spot in the final for St Patrick’s Day.

2016:  Sleacht Néill

SHANE McGuigan scored five points in a three-point win over Kilcoo to book them a ticket to the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final against London’s St Kiernan’s. The Derry side enjoyed the trip to London with a 2-11 to 0-5 victory with goals from Cormac Bradley and Meehaul McGrath. The semi-final was the hardest game of their season to date with a hard-fought two-point victory over Dublin and Leinster champions St Vincent’s, 0-12 to 0-10. It didn’t work out for Sleacht Néill on St Patrick’s Day with a two-point defeat to Dr Croke’s, their second All-Ireland final defeat in three years.

2017:  Sleacht Néill

SLEACHT Néill claimed back-to-back Ulster titles with a comfortable win against Cavan Gaels with a man of the match performance for Shane McGuigan who scored 1-6. Their journey was cut short with a tough defeat to swallow against Cork and Munster champions Nemo Rangers on the scoreline of 2-19 to 1-14.

2018:  Gaoth Dobhair

THIS was a fairytale victory from a small Irish speaking community with an extra-time victory over Scotstown, meaning they became the first Donegal team to win an Ulster Championship in 43 years. But the fairytale came to an end with Gaoth Dobhair losing to the All-Ireland champions of 2019 and Galway and Connacht champions Corofin in a four-point defeat on a scoreline of 2-13 to 1-12

2019:  Kilcoo

FIRST-TIME Ulster champions Kilcoo claimed a two-point victory over Naomh Conaill with Daryl Branagan scoring 1-2 from play.They went on to play Dublin and Leinster champions St Enda’s which ended up in a three-point win for the Magpies. They gave a great account of themselves in the final but eventually fell short in extra-time against Corofin.

2021: Kilcoo

Kilcoo went back-to-back for their second Ulster title against a very comfortable win against Derrygonnelly Harps with a scoreline of 3-10 to 0-3. Kilcoo had a chance to redeem themselves and claimed a ticket to the All-Ireland final with a victory over Cork and Munster champions St Finbarr’s with five of the scores coming from Paul Devlin. The Magpies subsequently won the All-Ireland final for the first time with a dramatic last-gasp victory over Kilmacud Crokes on a never-to-be-forgotten day for the Down club.

2022: Glen

GLEN’S six-point victory over reigning All-Ireland champions Kilcoo crowned them as first-time Ulster champions with Danny Tally scoring 0-5 from frees to earn the Watty’s a chance in the All-Ireland series. They qualified for the decider with a win over Mhaigh Cuilinnand their All-Ireland final ended in controversial circumstances as Kilmacud Crokes had 16 players on the field in the final play. Now they have a chance to make amends as they take on Kilmacud in an eagerly anticipated sequel in early January.

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