GList: Showpiece sharpshooters

Shaun Casey takes a look at the players who lit up the senior county finals in Ulster.

Antrim: Ruairi McCann (Aghagallon)

UNFORTUNATELY for Ruairi McCann, his haul of 2-1 in the Antrim decider wasn’t enough to see Aghagallon over the line as they suffered another year of heartache. Audi Kelly’s former charges were eight points clear at the start of the second half, when McCann’s second goal opened up a huge lead. But Cargin calmly clawed their way back into contention with scores from their top marksmen Tomás McCann and Pat Shivers, who shared 0-10 equally between them. The game ended all square and it was the more experienced Cargin side that pushed on in added time to win by three points.

Armagh: Cian McConville (Crossmaglen)

McCONVILLE was on fire as Crossmaglen got their hands back on the Gerry Fegan Cup after a two-year absence. McConville, son of Armagh and Crossmaglen legend Jim, led the Rangers to the promised land with a performance that everyone in the Orchard County knew he was capable of. The 22-year-old took the Granemore defence for 0-8 and some of his scores were outstanding, but his work ethic off the ball and his willingness to put in the hard yards helped him pick up the Man of the Match gong. McConville has been part of Kieran McGeeney’s Armagh squad over the last number of years but is sure to see some game time next season.

Cavan: Ryan Donohoe (Gowna)

GOWNA were crowned Cavan County champions for the first time in 20 years after they defeated Killygarry with seven-points to spare in the end. Midfielder Ryan Donohoe proved to be the match winner as his personal tally of 1-3 helped his side earn their seventh Cavan title. Gowna carried the favourites tag into this game as they were coming up against a Killygarry team that were competing in their first showpiece in 51 years and although the game was a tight tussle, Gowna just had enough quality and class to get over the line with Oisin Pierson’s late three-pointer putting some gloss on the scoreline.

Derry: Cathal Mulholland (Glen)

GLEN proved that last year’s big win over Sleacht Néill was no freak result as they repeated the feat in this season’s showpiece. Cathal Mulholland top scored for Malachy O’Rourke’s men, notching the only goal of the game as the Watty Graham’s club completed back-to-back county titles. Glen carried a five-point lead into the half time break and held that same margin as the match edged towards the final whistle. Mulholland’s goal late into the second half helped the Maghera club really pull away in the end and opened up a seven-point lead by the finish. They will now certainly be targeting a big run in the Ulster Championship.

Donegal: Ciaran Thompson & Charlie McGuinness (Naomh Conaill)

NAOMH Conaill are back on top in Donegal as they secured their third county title in four years after losing out to St Eunan’s last season. But Martin Regan’s men exacted their revenge in 2022 thanks mostly to the scoring power of Ciaran Thompson and Charlie McGuinness who scored 1-5 of their 1-9. Thompson chipped in with 0-4 and his late free was enough to see the Glenties over the line. McGuinness nabbed his side’s only goal of the game at the start of the second half, but the game was nip and tuck throughout until Thompson made all the difference with the final score of the day.

Down: Alan Davidson (Warrenpoint)

WARRENPOINT came within a whisker of dethroning All-Ireland champions Kilcoo thanks mostly to the accuracy of Aidan Davidson. Ryan Johnston, who top scored for Kilcoo with 1-1, nailed the only major of the match and the Magpies led by three points towards the end of the game. But Davidson showed nerves of steel to slot over three late frees and force the game into extra time. Davidson added to his growing tally in the second period of additional time, but Kilcoo had done enough to reclaim their Down title and sneak over the line with one point the difference in the end.

Fermanagh: Conor Love (Enniskillen Gaels)

ENNISKILLEN Gaels eased past Erne Gaels in the Fermanagh decider to claim their first county title since 2006. Last year’s beaten finalists got the chance to right the wrongs of 12 months ago and made sure there were no regrets leaving Brewster Park this time around. Goals win game Simon Bradley’s side hit three on the day, two coming from the boot of full forward Conor Love. The Gaels led by eight at the short whistle, with Love claiming one of their two first half goals, 2-5 to 0-3. Love added another in the second period and finished the match with 2-1 to his name.

Monaghan: Dessie Ward (Ballybay)

BALLYBAY ended a ten-year wait for another Senior Championship crown and their ninth in all as they overcame Monaghan kingpins Scotstown by three points. The An Bhoth men were searching for their third title in a row, but Ballybay weren’t to be denied this time around. Jerome Johnston’s side led by three-points at the half time break but extended that advantage to eight by the 40th minute with Man of the Match Dessie Ward, who finished with 1-3, rattling the net for his sides one and only goal.

Tyrone: Joe Oguz (Errigal Ciaran) & Martin Penrose (Carrickmore)

BOTH Oguz and Penrose hit 1-1 for their sides but it was Errigal Ciaran who earned victory and captured the O’Neill Cup last Sunday. Oguz finished off an excellent move and after being played in by Darragh Canavan, he coolly slotted home their second goal of the game at a crucial juncture in the second-half. Carrickmore battled hard until the final whistle but it gave Errigal a bit of breathing space. Carrickmore stalwart Martin Penrose also scored a fine goal early in the second-half to bring them back into the game but they ultimately fell short.

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