With the Ulster Senior Club Championship throwing in at Brewster Park this weekend, Niall McCoy looks at the last 10 seasons and how they panned out…
2022 Glen, Derry
GLEN were in the unusual situation of being Ulster contenders right after winning their first-ever Derry title, and wins over St Eunan’s and Scotstown in 2021 backed that up. However, they lost a hot and heavy Ulster semi-final to eventual champions Kilcoo after extra-time. Last year, they were back again and with no preliminary round to worry about this time, wins over Errigal Ciaran and Cargin booked a final spot. Kilcoo stood in their way once again, but the Watty Graham’s were superb in the 1-12 to 1-6 win.
2021 Kilcoo, Down
KILCOO’S history goals have changed dramatically over recent years given their stunning success – and in 2021 they had a new objective, retaining the Ulster crown having won it for the first time the last time it was played in 2019, with no competition in 2020. Ramor provided little opposition in the quarter-final before they edged Glen in a defensive semi-final watched by a massive crowd in Armagh. Coming through that left them as red-hot favourites to defeat Fermanagh’s Derrygonnelly in the decider, but the 3-10 to 0-3 scoreline was a major shock. The match was tight until Daryl Branagan’s goal late in the first half, and from there Kilcoo took over.
2020 No championship
THE Covid-19 pandemic meant that teams were limited to playing in their county championships with the Ulster and All-Ireland campaigns abandoned. The sides to miss out were Cargin, Maghery, Crosserlough, Sleacht Néill, Naomh Conaill, Kilcoo, Ederney, Scotstown and Dungannon.
2019 Kilcoo, Down
KILCOO’S inability to convert Down titles into provincial success came to an end but not without a few scares along the way. Their experience showed against a defensive Magherafelt in Newry before Derrygonnelly pushed them all the way in the semi-final, Aaron Branagan with the crucial goal in the 1-8 to 0-9 success. The final proved equally as exerting with Mickey Moran’s side winning 2-11 to 2-9 at Healy Park in Omagh – brothers Aidan Branagan and Daryl Branagan with the crucial green flags.
2018 Gaoth Dobhair, Donegal
AN Ulster campaign that will live long in the memory, the Monday clubs will anyway, as Gaoth Dobhair lifted the Seamus McFerran Cup for the first time ever. Kevin Cassidy had plenty of miles on the clock, but his experience and knowhow proved crucial as they made their way to the top. They nearly messed it up in the quarter-final as they were left hanging on against Cargin having led by 10 points, but they survived. The semi-final was less dramatic though as they eased past Crossmaglen, Dáire Ó Baoill helping himself to a hat-trick. Scotstown awaited in the final and it was a thriller, Seaghan Ferry with the winning score in ET.
2017 Sleacht Néill, Derry
SLEACT Néill made it three Ulster titles in four years and for many, the final took place in the preliminary round as the Derry champions defeated Kilcoo in Newry. Patsy Bradley came up with the winning goal and there was always a feeling of inevitability about their campaign from there.
That said, they had to dig really deep in the quarter-final to see off Omagh 0-10 to 0-8 before they had two goals to spare against Kilcar in the semi-final. The final was a one-sided affair as they defeated Cavan Gaels 1-15 to 0-10, Shane McGuigan helping himself to 1-6.
2016 Sleacht Néill, Derry
A FAIRLY efficient Ulster title for the Robert Emmet’s as they hit 12 scores in all three games to return to the top of the provincial tree. A 0-12 tally helped them to a five-point success against Derrygonnelly in the last eight before 1-11 was enough to earn a six-point win over Killyclogher. It was back to 0-12 as they beat Kilcoo in the final by three points. The side were never behind in the game, but they only stretched away in the final minutes with Shane McGuigan’s eye for a score proving crucial.
2015 Crossmaglen, Armagh
CROSSMAGLEN’S last Ulster title came back in 2015 but they will be hoping to end the wait in the coming weeks. They needed second-half goals from John Murtagh and Johnny Hanratty to prevail against a sticky Cargin side in their first outing before showing their class to defeat Kilcoo by four points in Newry. That qualified them for an Ulster final against Scotstown and a real classic followed with the Rangers winning after extra-time on a 2-17 to 2-12 scoreline – Tony Kernan and Kyle Carragher with the majors.
2014 Sleacht Néill, Derry
SLEACT Néill finally got their hands on the Seamus McFerran Cup with most of their good work coming by limiting their opponents to small tallies. Indeed, in three games they conceded just 1-25 – just over seven points per game. They withstood a Cavan Gaels comeback before limiting a fine Clontibret attack to just seven points. That set up a final meeting with Omagh and they emerged 1-10 to 1-9 winners in a game that swung back and forth. Cormac O’Doherty (1-2) and Christopher ‘Sammy’ Bradley (0-4) were the scoring heroes in front of nearly 10,000 fans – the latter nabbing the winning score in the final moments.
2013 Ballinderry, Derry
IT was title number three for Ballinderry as they came all the way from the preliminary round to the winners’ circle in Ulster. It will be a campaign that will live long in the memory thanks to the performances of Aaron Devlin who would tragically pass away less than two years later. Clonoe, Scotstown – by a point – and Kilcoo would be banished to secure a final spot against Donegal’s Glenswilly.
Michael Murphy goaled for the opposition after just 25 seconds, but the Shamrocks remained cool with Michael McIver’s goal helping them to a 1-13 to 2-6 success to claim the crown.