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Scotstown proved too strong for Ballybay in the Monaghan SFC Final at St Tiernach's Park.
Scotstown proved too strong for Ballybay in the Monaghan SFC Final at St Tiernach's Park.

Monaghan SFC Final: Scotstown earn silverware

Monaghan Senior Football Championship Final

Scotstown 1-14 Ballybay 0-7

By Colm Shalvey at St Tiernach's Park

Scotstown won their fifth Monaghan SFC title in six years when they pulled away decisively from Ballybay in the second half at a sun-soaked St. Tiarnach’s Park, Clones. Ballybay led by 0-3 to 0-0 after a strong start, but they failed to score from play for the remainder of the game as their attack, having averaged more than 20 points per game en route to the final, including 4-19 in the semi-final, was snuffed out by an increasingly dominant Scotstown.

Having fallen short of a famous five-in-a-row in last year’s final, Scotstown were focused and determined throughout here, with SFC top scorer Conor McCarthy hitting 1-5 to take his tally to 3-21 in six games. Colin McAree’s side outscored Ballybay by 1-6 to 0-1 in the second half as they claimed their sixth county title of the last eight.

Ballybay started brightly with three unanswered points from Tiernan McSkean, Christopher McGuinness and Paul Finlay, before Scotstown got off the mark through young forward Matthew Maguire. A second converted free by Finlay restored Ballybay’s three-point lead, but a fine score from Paul Sherlock kept Scotstown in touch at the first water break.

The next five points all came from frees, with Conor McCarthy (two) and Shane Carey on target for Scotstown and Ballybay responding via Finlay and Thomas Kerr. Scotstown rallied at the end of the half, despite losing Frank Caulfield to a black card, as points by Kieran Hughes and McCarthy moved them ahead for the first time. Rory Beggan then opened his account from a ’45 to leave Scotstown leading by 0-8 to 0-6 at half-time.

A dull third quarter almost passed without a score, as Scotstown missed a series of chances to stretch their lead, before McCarthy and Carey tapped over frees. Finlay replied from a free, but that proved to be Ballybay’s only score of the second half and they were soon trailing by six as McCarthy added to his tally, before Beggan booted over a brace of 50-metre frees.

A long kick-out by Beggan to Kieran Hughes allowed Carey to add a point, before Scotstown finished in style, with McCarthy firing home the only goal at the end of a superb run.

Scorers for Scotstown: Conor McCarthy 1-5 (3fs), Rory Beggan 0-3 (2fs, 1 ’45), Shane Carey 0-3 (2fs), Paul Sherlock 0-1; Kieran Hughes 0-1, Matthew Maguire 0-1.

Scorers for Ballybay: Paul Finlay 0-4 (4fs) Thomas Kerr 0-1 (f), Christopher McGuinness 0-1, Tiernan McSkean 0-1.

SCOTSTOWN: Rory Beggan; Michael Meehan, Damien McArdle, Jack McDevitt; Ryan O’Toole, Dónal Morgan, Kieran Hughes; Darren Hughes, Frank Caulfield; Francis Maguire, Shane Carey (Capt.), Paul Sherlock; Matthew Maguire, Conor McCarthy, Orin Heaphey.

Subs: Brendan Boylan for Caulfield (37), Seánie Mohan for Heaphey (49), Ross McKenna for F Maguire (52), Emmet Caulfield for M Maguire (58), James Hamill for McDevitt (59).

BALLYBAY: Adam Counihan; Ryan Wylie, Michael Hannon, Colm Lennon; Eoin McKearney, Brent Wylie, Tiernan McSkean; Paul Finlay, Dessie Ward; Ciarán Galligan, Shane McGuinness, Thomas Kerr; Drew Wylie (Capt.); Christopher McGuinness, Paddy O’Neill.

Subs: Tommy O’Neill for D Wylie, Darragh Drury for P O’Neill (both 48), Dara McCann for S McGuinness (51), Shane McQuillan for B Wylie, Aaron Toner for Galligan (both 56).

REFEREE: Pat McEnaney (Corduff).