Ulster MFC final: Farney avenge opening defeat to claim silverware

July 13, 2018

Monaghan minor manager Seamus McEnaney

Monaghan are Ulster minor football champions following this 1-9 to 0-9 victory over Derry at the Athletic Grounds.

There was little to separate the teams throughout but ultimately it was a 52nd-minute penalty goal from Donnach Swinburne that swung the issue in Monaghan's favour.

This was a repeat of the preliminary-round clash on Saturday, April 28th, which Derry won by 2-14 to 2-13 after extra time, thereby consigning Monaghan to taking the scenic route to the final.

Tonight, the Derry lads led by the odd point from eleven at the short whistle, Enda Downey firing over on the stroke of half time.

A brace of Sean Jones frees got the Farney County off to a flying start and Downey finally got the Oak Leaf County up and running with a sweetly-struck twelfth-minute free. Eoghan Hawe equalised and Downey did likewise from his second free in the 20th minute after Ronan Grimes had restored Monaghan's advantage.

Man of the Match Aaron Mulligan's brace of frees nudged Seamus McEnaney's lads two in front with half time approaching but Derry hit back with converted frees from Conleth McGuckin and Downey before the latter pounced from play to make it 0-6 to 0-5 at the break.

Ethan Doherty fired Derry back in front after Jones equalised from a free but Mulligan then worked a short free to make it seven points apiece with 38 minutes played. Mulligan and Downey (free) exchanged points as the deadlock remained but Swinburne's penalty following a foul on Jack Doogan then propelled the winners into a three-point lead.

McGuckin hit back with a point and winning goalkeeper Ryan Farrelly pulled off a superb save to deny Eunan McElhennon a Derry goal three minutes from the end of normal time. A Mulligan free deep into added time completed the scoring as Monaghan avenged their opening-round defeat to take the Father Murray Cup in front of the 2,876 spectators.

Both sides will be in All-Ireland quarter-final action on the last Sunday of July. Monaghan will face the losers of the Leinster final between Meath and Kildare, while Derry will take on the winners of that game.

Monaghan - R Farrelly; R Grimes (0-1), J Doogan, S Hanratty; C Flood, B Og Dufaigh, M Meehan; J McGarrell, A Moore; A Mulligan (0-5, 3f), S Jones (0-3, 2f), K Gallagher; D Swinburne (1-0pen), L Power, J Irwin. Subs: M Mooney for L Power, O O'Hanlon for K Gallagher. 

Derry - A Gillan; C Milne, T Woods, R McFaul; A McCluskey, J McErlain, A Canavan; N Doyle, I Donaghy; E McElhennon, S Murray, E Doherty (0-1); E Hawe (0-1), E Downey (0-5, 4f), C McGuckin (0-2f). Subs: PJ McAleese for S Murray, D Mooney for A Canavan, S Kearney for E Hawe. 

Referee - M Farrelly.

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