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Darren Hughes of Scotstown in action against Drew Wylie of Ballybay during the Monaghan County Senior Club Football Championship Final.
Darren Hughes of Scotstown in action against Drew Wylie of Ballybay during the Monaghan County Senior Club Football Championship Final.

Scotstown win fourth Monaghan SFC title in a row

Greenfield Foods Monaghan Senior Football Championship Final


By Colm Shalvey at Clones

Scotstown won their fourth consecutive Monaghan SFC title when they held off challengers Ballybay in front of a crowd of almost 4,500 in Clones on Sunday. A Conor McCarthy goal proved decisive as Scotstown just had enough in the tank to win their fifth county title in six years against a Ballybay side that failed to take several chances to find the net.

McCarthy was joined by fellow county men Kieran and Darren Hughes, Rory Beggan and Shane Carey in making important contributions for Scotstown, while the best efforts of the likes of Dessie Ward, Thomas Kerr and Shane McGuinness couldn’t get Ballybay over the line. Scotstown were on top at midfield for long spells and even a late rally from Ballybay couldn’t deny them.

Francis Maguire got Scotstown up and running within a minute and although Mark McArdle quickly brought Ballybay level, Shane Carey and Jamie McCarey continued the holders’ strong start.

Dessie Ward hit the side-net from a glorious goal chance for Ballybay, before Dónal Morgan and Rory Beggan stretched Scotstown’s lead to four. Shane McGuinness and Ward halved Ballybay’s deficit, but a second 45-metre free by Beggan and a fine score from Kieran Hughes restored the four-point gap.

Ward got one back for Ballybay, but Conor McCarthy opened his account to send Scotstown in at half-time leading by 0-8 to 0-4. Ballybay started the second half brightly with points from Shane McGuinness and Aaron Toner, but Maguire cut through their defence to get Scotstown’s first point of the second half.

McCarthy then got the only goal of the game on 36 minutes when he netted at the second attempt after his first effort had been parried by Brian McCabe. Carey tapped over a free to move Scotstown six clear, although Ward responded with a well-taken point, before Paul Finlay belatedly opened his account from a free.

Frees by McCarthy and Carey increased Scotstown’s advantage, although Ballybay came back strongly in the closing stages through scores from Ward and Finlay. McCarthy won and scored a close-range free to round off Scotstown’s tally. Ballybay hit three points during eight added minutes, with Thomas Kerr, Finlay and Brent Wylie on target, but they couldn’t find the goal they desperately needed.

Shane and Christopher McGuinness both sent low efforts wide inside the final, quarter, while the latter also had a shot blocked during added time. Ballybay, who had earlier lost McArdle to a black card, saw county man Drew Wylie shown a second yellow in the dying seconds.

Scotstown will face Fermanagh champions Derrygonnelly in the Ulster Club SFC preliminary round in two weeks’ time.

Scorers for Scotstown: Conor McCarthy 1-3 (0-2f); Shane Carey 0-3 (2f); Francis Maguire 0-2; Rory Beggan 0-2f; Dónal Morgan 0-1; Kieran Hughes 0-1; Jamie McCarey 0-1.

Scorers for Ballybay: Dessie Ward 0-5; Paul Finlay 0-3 (2f); Shane McGuinness 0-2; Mark McArdle 0-1; Brent Wylie 0-1; Thomas Kerr 0-1.

Scotstown: Rory Beggan; Ryan O’Toole, Damien McArdle, Dónal Morgan; Emmet Caulfield, Paul Sherlock, Jack McDevitt; Francis Caulfield, Darren Hughes (Capt.); Jamie McCarey, Kieran Hughes, Shane Carey; Orin Heaphey, Conor McCarthy, Francis Maguire.

Subs: Ross McKenna for F Caulfield (inj., 47), Fergal McPhillips for E Caulfield (inj., 49), Micheál McCarville for Maguire (59), Brendan Boylan for Sherlock (inj., 60 + 4), Kevin McMeel for Morgan (60 + 8).

Ballybay: Brian McCabe; Brent Wylie, Ryan Wylie, Eoin McKearney; Colm Lennon, Drew Wylie, Mark McArdle; Ciarán Galligan, Tommy O’Neill; Aaron Toner, Shane McGuinness, Thomas Kerr; Paul Finlay (Capt.), Christopher McGuinness, Dessie Ward.

Subs: Michael Hannon for Galligan, Shane McQuillan for O’Neill (both 39), Abraham Dixon for McArdle (black card, 53).

Referee: Anthony Marron (Corduff).

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