By Michael McMullan
KIERAN Hughes feels Scotstown’s ability to last the pace silenced anyone who questioned their “old legs”.
The Farney champions needed a late Conor McCarthy point to force extra time in a game they spurned early chances that nearly came back to haunt them when Lee Brennan kicked Trillick into the lead in stoppage time.
“This group has come up against a young enthusiastic team (Trillick) and full of legs and we are after going to extra time and beating them,” Hughes said, summing up an entertaining instalment of Ulster action.
“Anyone who has questioned us about old legs and what not, there were more answers there today,” said Hughes, speaking after an embrace with Corofin All-Ireland winning manager Kevin O’Brien, who is part of David McCague’s Scotstown management team.
Scotstown now face into a third final in nine years against reigning champions Glen next month after the Watties’ Saturday night victory over Naomh Conaill in another game decided in the closing moments.
“The Glen boys will be here today and will have seen pockets to be picked. No doubt Malachy (O’Rourke) and the boys will be tuned into what way to operate the next day,” Hughes said of his former Monaghan boss.
“I am a big believer in that your 24 hours after a win and that one is going to stick in the memory for a long time; it was some effort from the boys.”
Scotstown dominated the early stages but failed to make it count on the scoreboard and were hit by a Sean O’Donnell goal on the cusp of half-time and went in 1-4 to 0-6 in arrears.
The Scotstown dressing room was “pure madness” for 30 seconds before they cooled the jets to get their heads in the game.
“I think we controlled the first half unbelievably well,” Hughes felt. “It was 30 seconds at the end of the first half when we just capitulated and it wasn’t good enough on our behalf.
“There was only a point in it and we got that back after five or six minutes of the second half. It was nip and tuck and a bit of a shootout in the second half and it looked like they nailed it right at the end”
With Scotstown seconds away from the exit door and with Trillick closing down many of Rory Beggan’s kick-outs, substitute Darragh Murray make a run to pick up possession.
It was their last roll of the dice. Shane Carey ran the ball into the scoring zone with Conor McCarthy peeling in from Daniel Donnelly – who kept tabs on him all afternoon – to kick the equaliser.
“Cess (McCarthy) did what Cess does, it was unbelievable and as soon as you get to extra-time it takes on a new life of its own,” Hughes said of the latest Farney All-Star.
“I think best team won on the day. I think if you look back, we were the most dominant team and kicked ourselves away.”