Statement of intent as Watty Graham's Glen see off Scotstown to book Ulster Championship semi-final spot
Ulster Senior Club Football Championship: Watty Graham’s Glen 1-18 Scotstown 0-12
THEY’VE waited 73 years to get to this stage and Glen are now determined to make the most of it. The Derry champions marched to an Ulster semi-final meeting against their clubmate Mickey Moran’s Kilcoo after a convincing scalping of Scotstown yesterday.
The Monaghan champions’ much greater experience counted for very little in the face of whistle-to-whistle attacks from the Watty Graham’s outfit. Scotstown’s frustration boiled over and they lost Kieran Hughes early in the second half and his brother Darren (in injury-time) before Danny Tallon poked home the game’s only goal to rubberstamp an impressive victory for the Derry men.
From the start Glen looked quicker, fitter and tactically superior and Scotstown were out-worked in midfield and then cut to shreds by a lightening half-forward line in which Jack Doherty was outstanding. At half-time Glen led 0-11 to 0-5 and the physical, hard-hitting affair came to the boil four minutes into the second half when Darren Hughes escaped the attention of Ryan Dougan to punch a hole in the Glen defence.
He raced deep into enemy territory and had Ryan O’Toole screaming for a pass to his left but he held on to the ball and a goal chance was lost. As the move had progressed his brother Kieran had, not for the first time, clashed off-the-ball with marker Conor McDevitt and, after consultation with his linesman, referee Joe McQuillan flashed a red card at Hughes.
Although they continued to battle, Scotstown’s chances left Celtic Park with their midfield talisman and afterwards manager Colin McAree had few complaints.
“From the outset we hoped that we’d got the right match-ups and, on reflection, we probably didn’t,” he admitted.
“That gave them a platform and they put us under serious pressure on our kick-out, we just couldn’t get the ball. The red cards didn’t help the situation but I’m proud of the lads, they were up against it and Glen were always a four or five-point better team throughout the game. We pushed and pushed and pushed but we simply weren’t good enough on the day.”
Glen controlled the midfield throughout the first half. Manager Malachy O’Rourke had obviously done his homework on Rory Beggan and his former Monaghan colleague was presented with a green and yellow wall across the middle when he placed the ball down for a restart.
The result was that Glen gobbled up possession and attacked at every opportunity. Their first point came from the throw-in through a Tallon free and he tapped over a second shortly afterwards. Without the ball, Glen massed in their own half around the swashbuckling Ciaran McFaul and Scotstown struggled to find a way through them. They were second best throughout the first quarter and, although they improved in the second, their finishing was poor (although it must be said that their shooters were under immense pressure) and three opportunities went a begging before Conor Glass stroked over a composed point to send Glen side five ahead.
Scotstown hung in there until the break but losing Kieran Hughes – their best player this season - early in the second half made an already difficult task impossible.
They did manage three points on-the-trot, two from corner back Damien McArdle, but Glen regained their composure with scores from Emmett Bradley – brilliant at times alongside the classy Glass in midfield – and skipper Conor Carville.
The game was already beyond his team when Darren Hughes was shown the line for a swing at Michael Warnock (Beggan could also have been red-carded for a two-footed lunge after he’d lost the ball) and Tallon added a little extra gloss to the scoreline with a poacher’s goal at the death.
Kilcoo will raise the bar next time out but Glen will relish that.
Watty Graham’s Glen: C Bradley; M Warnock, R Dougan, C Carville (0-1); T Flanagan, C McFaul (0-1), E Doherty; C Glass (0-1), E Bradley (0-3, 0-2 frees); C McDevitt (0-1), J Doherty (0-1), C Convery (0-1); P Gunning (0-3, 0-2 frees), D Tallon (1-3, 0-3 frees), C McGuckan (0-1)
Subs: E Mulholland for Convery (54), A Doherty (0-1) for P Gunning (61), Stevie O'Hara for J Doherty (63)
Yellow card: P Gunning (11), Convery (33),
Scotstown: R Beggan (0-1 free); M Meehan, R McKenna, D McArdle (0-2); J McDevitt, R O’Toole, P Sherlock; M McCarville, K Hughes (0-2); O Heaphey, C McCarthy (0-2), M Maguire (0-1); S Carey (0-4, 0-2 frees), D Hughes, D Morgan
Subs: G McPhillps for Maguire (27), J Carey for F Maguire (40), S Mohan for McKenna (48), J Hamill for J Carey (55)
Yellow cards: O’Toole (48), Sherlock (55), Beggan (60)
Red cards: K Hughes (37), D Hughes (62)
Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan)