Frank McGuigan, Oisin McConville, Peter Canavan, Paddy Bradley... Paddy Lynch joins elite Ulster club

Cavan forward breaks double-digit barrier in Ulster Championship opener against Monaghan

Cavan's Paddy Lynch and Sligo's Mikey Gordon in action during the GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Tailteann Cup semi-final between Cavan and Sligo at Croke Park Dublin on 06-19-2022. Picture by Philip Walsh.
Cavan's Paddy Lynch scored 1-9 against Monaghan in Sunday's Ulster Championship opener

THINK of the best individual scoring displays in the Ulster Championship… Frank McGuigan’s virtuoso performance versus Armagh in 1984 immediately springs to mind. The Ardboe clubman scored 0-11 from play on that sunny Clones day - five off his right foot, five off his left and the other one with his fist.

15 years later, Oisin McConville bettered his total with 2-7 in the 1999 Ulster final against Down but scoring double-figures in the Ulster Championship is, as you would imagine, a rarity.

Since the turn of this century, only a select few have managed the feat and, last Sunday, Cavan’s Paddy Lynch became just the 10th player to manage it (see list below) when he posted a match-winning 1-9 against Monaghan in the Anglo-Celt opener at Clones.

Lynch scored a brilliant late goal, a point from play and eight frees but consider how he had to cope with gusty winds and early spring conditions while many of his predecessors had the luxury of a dry ball and a firm sod.

Like many prolific finishers, Lynch, whose previous highest in Ulster was 0-8 against Antrim in 2022, didn’t know his exact scoring total when the final whistle blew and immediately focussed on trying to do the same again in the next game.

Frank McGuigan, pictured during his playing days, expressed his dismay with the style of refereeing and rule changes
Frank McGuigan famously scored 11 points from play against Armagh

“I didn’t realise it was 1-9,” he said.

“That’s not a bad day out but, look, I’ll move on to the next one and hopefully it’s the same again.”

Lynch wasn’t involved in 2020 when Cavan beat Monaghan in a Clones thriller after GAA had been permitted to return behind closed doors following the Covid lockdown.

His manager Raymond Galligan was the hero that day and, having been brought up on stories of the famous Cavan-Monaghan rivalry, Lynch was delighted to come out on the winning side against his neighbours and progress to a quarter-final against Tyrone at Kingspan Breffni.

“This is the feeling that you dream of when you’re a young lad,” he said.

“It was the first time I’d played against Monaghan – in League or Championship – but throughout the years I’ve been coming to these derbies so I know what it’s all about and I’m delighted to get my first win under my belt.”

Monaghan had the better of it in the early stages on Sunday but Cavan’s gameplan was carefully planned and well executed. However, they needed Lynch’s frees to keep them in the game until half-time and the young forward did that with five points from confident deadball strikes.

“The conditions were tricky in the first half and I thought going in at half-time we were happy-enough with where we were playing against the breeze,” he said.

“In the second half we kept at it and thank God we got the result. We’ll take a lot of confidence from it definitely. We had this game in the back of our heads the whole year so we’re delighted to get the win.

“Raymond and the other coaches have been very good all year, the last two League games didn’t go our way but this was the one we were planning for.”

<span style="font-family: Arial, sans-serif; ">Paddy Bradley gave an exhibition of point taking against the Dubs on August 11 2008, with the Glenullin man firing over five from play. It was not enough, however, to prevent Derry from slipping to a three point defeat. Dublin would go on to lose narrowly to eventual All-Ireland winners Kerry in the semi-final.</span>&nbsp;
Derry's Paddy Bradley hit double-figures in the Ulster Championship twice during his playing days
Double-digits in the Ulster Championship since 2000:

2002: Gerald Pierson (Cavan) 0-10 v Donegal

2002: Rory Gallagher (Fermanagh) 3-9 v Monaghan

2003: Peter Canavan (Tyrone) 0-11 v Down

2005: Paddy Bradley (Derry) 1-10 v Monaghan

2005: Stephen O’Neill (Tyrone) 0-10 v Armagh

2008: Paddy Bradley (Derry) 0-10 v Donegal

2009: Paddy Cunningham (Antrim) 0-11

2016: Peter Harte (Tyrone) 2-4 v Cavan

2021: Darren McCurry (Tyrone) 0-10 v Cavan

2023: Shane McGuigan (Derry) 2-5 v Fermanagh

2024: Paddy Lynch (Cavan) 1-9 v Monaghan