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Darren Hughes, Scotstown, challenged by Gaoth Dobhair's Michael Carroll and Eamonn McGee at Healy Park.
Darren Hughes, Scotstown, challenged by Gaoth Dobhair's Michael Carroll and Eamonn McGee at Healy Park.

Gaoth Dobhair triumph in Ulster

AIB Ulster Senior Club Football Championship


After extra-time

By Orla Bannon at Healy ParK

Gaoth Dobhair won a first Ulster club SFC title after an extra-time thriller against Scotstown in Omagh, bringing the trophy back to Donegal for the first time since 1975.

Shane Ferry's point in the second half of extra time was the difference, with All Star goalkeeper Rory Beggan surprisingly dropping a free short from around 45 metres which would taken the game to a second bout of extra time.

Both teams finished with 14 men with two dismissals in extra time. Shane Carey, who'd kicked 0-6 for the Monaghan champions, received a straight red in the ninth minute of extra time with Eamonn McGee picking up a second yellow late on.

It was Scotstown's second extra-time defeat in an Ulster final in four years, having lost the 2015 decider to Cross in similar circumstances.

Conditions were difficult in Healy Park and it was as tight as predicted with the sides level five times in the opening half, which finished 0-5 apiece.

Scotstown shored up their defence from the semi-final when they leaked 2-10 against Coleraine.

Wary of the four goals Gaoth Dobhair had put past Crossmaglen, it was no surprise they went with a sweeper this time with Donal Morgan dropping deep and Jamie McCarey giving the man-marking job on Daire O Baoill – the hat-trick hero against Cross.

A week of rain left conditions were soft and heavy and it was a defensive, tactical battle with scores and chances at a premium.

Both sides looked dangerous on the break, Gaoth Dobhair snuffing out a Scotstown attack and Michael Carroll finished a sweeping move up the field to put the Donegal champions back in front.

Shane Carey equalised with the first of his three first-half points and his second point put Scotstown in front for the first time at 0-3 to 0-2.

There was never more than a point in it and predictably, Eamonn Collum levelled it for Gweedore before the only real goal chance of the half.

Collum's dropping shot was spilled by Rory Beggan and when he failed to gather it on his muddy goalline, O Baoill slid in but his shot deflected off Emmet Caulfield and Beggan was fortunate to clear the danger at the third attempt.

Darren Hughes was influential and pointed from distance, but the opposite number 14 Kevin Cassidy responded with Carey and Cian Mulligan trading scores towards the end of a tight first half hour.

Scotstown came out and opened up a three-point gap with two Carey frees and a Conor McCarthy point – the first time there had been clear daylight between the teams.

Their greater experience seemed a factor at that stage with patient build-up play and won some key turnovers.

Cassidy was instrumental in keeping Gaoth Dobhair in touch, he won a crucial ball with his back to goal, wriggled free of two defenders to score.

While Beggan's 43m free stretched Scotstown's lead, Naoise O Baoill and James Carroll points set up a tense finish.

Shane Carey's sixth point left Scotstown 0-11 to 0-9 ahead with five minutes remaining, but Odhran McNiallais scored from a free and from play, the latter in the 59th minute. Both teams scored once in the first period of extra time before Ferry's winner in the 75th minute.

Scorers for Gaoth Dobhair: Odhran MacNiallais 0-4 (3fs), Kevin Cassidy 0-2, Cian Mulligan 0-1, Eamonn Collum 0-1, Micheal Carroll 0-1, Naoise O Baoill 0-1, James Carroll 0-1 (f), Ryan Kelly 0-1, Shane Ferry 0-1.

Scorers for Scotstown: Shane Carey 0-6 (3fs), Rory Beggan 0-2 (1f, 1 '45') Darren Hughes 0-1 Kieran Hughes 0-1, Conor McCarthy 0-1, Damien McArdle 0-1.

GAOTH DOBHAIR: Christopher Sweeney; Gary McFadden, Neil McGee, Christopher McFadden; Niall Friel, Eamonn McGee, Odhran McFadden-Ferry; Daire O Baoill, Odhran MacNiallais; Cian Mulligan, Naoise O Baoill, Daniel McBride; Eamonn Collum, Kevin Cassidy, Micheal Carroll

Subs: James Carroll for Collum (34), Shane Ferry for N O Baoill (60), Peter McGee for McBride (61), James Boyle for G McFadden (64).

SCOTSTOWN: Rory Beggan; Paul Sherlock, Ryan O'Toole, Damien McArdle; Jack McDevitt, Donal Morgan, Emmet Caulfield; Frank Caulfield, Kieran Hughes; Francis Maguire, Conor McCarthy, Jamie McCarey; Shane Carey, Darren Hughes, Ross McKenna

Subs: James Hamill for McKenna (53), Orin Heaphey for Maguire (57), Brendan Boylan for McCarey (71).

REFEREE: Noel Mooney (Cavan).

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