Conleth McGuckian, Glen in action against, Paul Sherlock, Scotstown.
Conleth McGuckian, Glen in action against, Paul Sherlock, Scotstown.

AIB Ulster Club SFC: Glen continue to impress

AIB Ulster Club SFC Quarter-Final


By Declan Bogue at Celtic PARK

Derry's Glen have made it to the Ulster semi-finals where they will meet Kilcoo, one of the blueblood teams of this competition and the champions the last time it was hosted in 2019.

They did so by taking out another renowned club in this crucible, Scotstown with a performance that owed a great deal to the tactical acumen of manager, Malachy O’Rourke.

For several seasons, O’Rourke took Rory Beggan’s raw talents and nurtured them into one of the most potent weapons in Gaelic football. His kickouts and ability to kick frees are not in question, but by stringing four men across the middle and forcing Beggan short, he short-circuited one of their chief strengths.

When Beggan decided to try a few long kickouts, they were hopelessly outnumbered for the breaks, Glen committing more bodies to the area and Michael Warnock in particular gobbled up a lot of loose possession. The statistic that jumped out at half-time was that Scotstown were only securing possession from 56% of their own kickouts.

That was only part of it. Glen are blessed with a number of supremely gifted athletes and they ran right at the heart of Scotstown’s defence time and again, drawing frees, converting no fewer than seven of them.

Ciaran McFaul’s ability to take on his man had them in all sorts of bother. From him, Conor Glass and Jack Doherty took his lead. When they didn’t have the ball, they brought everyone inside their 45 metre line and while the Monaghan champions had a lot of ball, they had to do an awful lot of work to get something on the scoreboard.

When they attacked, they got the right men in the right positions, running the correct angles. Behind them, they had their defence correctly set for fear of a counter attack. It may be their first time in the Ulster club, but they are already at a high level of tactical sophistication.

They jumped into a half time lead of 0-11 to 0-6, a golden spell for them coming in the second quarter kick-started by two Paul Gunning frees. Conor Glass had his confidence up and strode forward to stroke one over and Emmet Bradley converted a free.

Scotstown’s hopes felt gone when midfielder Kieran Hughes was awarded a red card just four minutes into the second half.

While they rallied and got the margin back to three points, Glen found a bit of momentum of their own after the second water break disturbed Scotstown’s momentum.

The goal arrived at the death, Danny Tallon stabbing home from close range past Rory Beggan, who featured prominently throughout.  

Scorers for Glen: D Tallon (1-3, 0-3f), E Bradley (0-3, 2f), P Gunning (0-3, 2f), J Doherty (0-2), C McFaul, C Carville, C Glass, E Mulholland, C Convery, C McGuckian, A Doherty (0-1 each).

Scorers for Scotstown: S Carey (0-4, 2f), D McArdle, K Hughes, C McCarthy (0-2 each), M Maguire (0-1), R Beggan (0-1f).

GLEN: C Bradley; M Warnock, R Dougan, C Carville; T Flanagan, C McFaul, E Doherty; C Glass, E Bradley; C McDevitt, J Doherty, C Convery; P Gunning, D Tallon, C McGuckian

Subs: C Mulholland for Convery (51m), A Doherty for Gunning (61m), S O’Hara for J Doherty (63m).

SCOTSTOWN: R Beggan; M Meehan, R McKenna, D McArdle; J McDevitt, R O’Toole, P Sherlock; M McCarville, K Hughes; F Maguire, C McCarthy, M Maguire; S Carey, D Hughes, D Morgan

Subs: G McPhillips for McCarville (25m), J Carey for F Maguire (40m), S Mahon for McKenna (47m), J Hamill for McDevitt (52m).

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).