GLIST: Armagh-Donegal top scorers

Brendan McCann has crunched the numbers and Niall McCoy looks at the details as the top 20 scorers in Armagh and Donegal Ulster clashes are revealed

Oisín McConville 2-24

NOT exactly a surprise to see the Crossmaglen ace at the top of the list given that his Armagh side really held a hex over Donegal for so long. His most famous goal against the Tir Chonaill County came in the 2003 All-Ireland semi-final, a late penalty to set up and All-Ulster final against eventual champions Tyrone, but this is provincial games only. His two green flags came after that ’03 strike, the first to seal the 2004 Ulster final at Croke Park before hitting the net in Ballybofey three years later as Donegal finally got a championship win over the Orchard County following Brendan Devenney’s late goal.

Martin McHugh 0-27

MCHUGH played for Donegal between 1981 and 1994 so he had plenty of opportunities to trouble the Armagh defence, and he did that regularly. He broke Armagh hearts with four points in the 1990 Ulster final as Donegal edged home by a point before scoring three points in the famous 1993 Ulster Championship when Armagh played six games and didn’t even make the final. It wasn’t always a winning contribution though, as his four points on his championship debut was not enough to stop Armagh winning by nine points in the ’81 quarter-final.

Ger Houlahan 4-11

THE cult hero of Armagh in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s had a habit of hitting the net against Donegal – doing it four times in all. The first arrived in 1984 when the youngster grabbed the crucial score in a 1-10 to 0-12 win at the Athletic Grounds – he’d grab a goal in all three Ulster games that season – and he repeated the trick in a five-point win in Ballybofey in 1987. Donegal were sick of the sight of him as he hit 1-3 in a quarter-final win in 1988 with his last goal coming in the 1993 losing semi-final replay.

Colm McFadden 0-20

COLM McFadden’s championship record against Armagh was not a good one, but he still made a great scoring contribution over the years. There was one big win in there, the one-point success in 2007, and McFadden’s six frees eventually proved crucial. He also hit three points in the historic 2004 Ulster final at Croke Park, although the Tir Chonaill men came out on the wrong side of the result.

Brendan Devenney 2-13

DEVENNEY hit 1-4 in the Ulster quarter-final replay loss to Armagh in 2005, but the game was overshadowed by a raft of cards with Maurice Deegan sending four players to the line. Devenney finished off after a fine Christy Toye goal to raise thoughts of a comeback, but Armagh saw the game out comfortably. His second goal was a contested one as Paul Hearty misjudged his high shot in to give the Donegal the win in 2007, although some believe Kevin Cassidy got the final touch.

Steven McDonnell 1-13

JOE Kernan’s side dominated Donegal in their often tense exchanges so it’s somewhat surprising that Steven McDonnell is so far down this list. Still, he played his part and got on the scoresheet in all three of his Ulster final wins over the side, 2002, ’04 and ’06. His goal came in the 2005 quarter-final replay, his fine high finish to the net off a Malachy Mackin pass putting the Orchard County in complete control in what would be another Anglo Celt winning season.

John Corvan 0-15

FOR a certain generation, the name John Corvan sparks real memories. The Armagh Harps man was noted for the spectacular and although he never got a goal against Donegal, he did manage to make a healthy contribution in a time when Armagh football often threatened but rarely finished the deal. Perhaps his greatest showing came in the low-scoring 1984 quarter-final when Corvan hit five points in a 1-10 to 0-12 win. He opened Armagh’s account on the day, fielding well from a pass in from the late, great Colm McKinstry, turning sharply and pointing – and it would end up a day to remember in the Cathederal City.

Adrian Sweeney 0-15

WHEN Donegal were floundering against Armagh in the ‘noughties’, you could still rely on Adrian Sweeney to give his all to the cause. He enjoyed some great battles with the likes of Kieran McGeeney, Francie Bellew and, in later years, Andy Mallon and he more than made his mark. Was Donegal’s top scorer with four points in the losing 1999 Ulster final and scored in their ’07 quarter-final win as he finally recorded a championship win over the Orchard County.

Manus Boyle 0-15

THE third player to rack up 15 points in this fixture, his first outing however was a losing one as despite his three points, Armagh prevailed in 1987. Had more joy in the 1990s though, the free-taker landing five points in the ’90 Ulster final as Donegal came through by the minimum. Scored seven points over the two games in 1993, Donegal prevailing after a replay before losing their Ulster and All-Ireland crowns the next round against a kiss-blowing Joe Brolly and Derry.

Ronan Clarke 1-11

AGAIN, like his partner in crime Steven McDonnell, perhaps a surprisingly low tally, although injury did limit his involvement in their clashes post 2006. He did score three points in that season’s Ulster final at Croke Park with his goal coming the year before as Donegal gave him the freedom of the park to win the ball, turn, take a solo and fire low to the net in their replay win at Clones.

Declan Bonner 0-14

ARMAGH are a county that provoke warm memories for Declan Bonner as he made his championship debut against them in 1987. The game itself wasn’t good though as Armagh came out on top on enemy territory, but Bonner did score the first of his 14 points against them. Two more would come in the narrow 1990 Ulster final win.

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