'Banty' cock-a-hoop as his Corduff team edges past Shane O'Neills of Armagh

Corduff's Jordan McGarrell celebrates scoring a goal in Saturday evening's win over Shane O'Neill's of Camlough at the Athletic Grounds. Picture Seamus Loughran
Corduff's Jordan McGarrell celebrates scoring a goal in Saturday evening's win over Shane O'Neill's of Camlough at the Athletic Grounds. Picture Seamus Loughran

Ulster Club IFC preliminary round: Shane O'Neill's, Camlough (Armagh) 1-8 Corduff (Monaghan) 1-9

Monaghan champions Corduff will face Down representatives Saval in Clones on Sunday after a convincing one-point win over Armagh's Shane O'Neill's of Camlough on Saturday evening.

Played in the Athletic Grounds, Seamus 'Banty' McEnaney's men were physically bigger and stronger than their opponents and they made it count. Their game-management was impressive and were worthy winners.

"We won by a point, there has to be only a point in it and the lads are getting good at winning by a point and I am thrilled for the club," said manager McEnaney.

"We have had a brilliant season and people will say that this is bonus territory. I am coming here a long time; I am coming to Armagh 15 or 16 years and it is a very hostile place to come to and a difficult place to come and win games. And I am delighted that our wee club from Corduff with only 350 residents in it has come here, played with pride, played with passion and played with physicality best we could and we won the game by a point."

It was an out of sorts Shanes, who were battered and bullied by Banty's Corduff, although they showed character with a late rally where they outscored the Monaghan men 1-05 to 0-01.

Paul O'Rourke's mark on five minutes was the first score of the game and Shane O'Neill's sole score of the half. The Monaghan champions hit back with three converted frees, Darren Marron struck twice, either side of Fearghal Hanratty.

Jason Hand struck over a beauty to stretch Corduff's lead but on 20 minutes Keith McEnaney, was black-carded for a foul on Ciaran Mackin, who took a lot of physical punishment, including a stamp that went unpunished. Despite having an extra player, the south Armagh side didn't look like scoring as they dropped long balls into their outnumbered forwards, with Sean McEnaney and Conor McEnaney mopping up.

Hanratty tagged on another point before Cillian Marron was given a black card, which meant Shanes were facing only 13 players. But still they failed to make progress as Shanes were not at the races.

Then in the fourth minute of additional time, county men Greg McCabe set Connaire Mackin through and he let fly but the ball crashed off the post. It was a goal that would have lifted the side but the woodwork denied them as the half-finished Shane O'Neill's 0-01 Corduff Gaels 0-05.

Shanes had the wind to their back for the second half but Corduff held firm.

Marron and Eamon McCabe traded points in the opening 12 minutes of the second half and minute later Jordan McGarrell rattled the net. Conor McKeown did well to save the initial shot but the rebound fell to the same player and he made no mistake in front of the empty net.

Raymond Fitzpatrick's introduction put Shanes on the front foot and he, Eamon McCabe and Odhran Conlon tagged on scores before Paul O'Rourke struck a late goal and they trailed by three points with five minutes on the clock.

It was a glimmer of hope for Shanes, but Keith McEnaney got an important point back for Corduff as the five additional minutes flashed up on the board. Ruari O'Brien's converted free left only two points between the sides and Shanes chasing a goal. Route one was the tactic that served them well in the county final, but David McCabe's fisted effort went over the bar in the dying seconds.

Shane O'Neill's boss Paddy Gregory had no complaints about the result.

"We have to learn from it, they were too cute for us in the first half and in the second half it took us a while to get going but we battled to the end and maybe could have nicked a draw but it just wasn't to be and the best team probably won today," he said.

Shane O'Neill's: Conor McKeown, Donal Austin, Nathan Morgan, Michael McParland, Padraic Hillen, Greg McCabe, Eamon McCabe (0-01), Ciaran Mackin, Ryan McCabe, Paul O'Rourke (1-02, 0-2 frees), Aodhan Conlon, Odhran Doherty, Matt Girvan, Connaire Mackin, Ruairi O'Brien 0-2 (2f).

Subs: David McCabe (0-02) for O Doherty ht', Mark McCabe for M Girvan ht', Raymond Fitzpatrick (0-01) for R McCabe 47', Ryan McCabe for Ciaran Mackin 50'.

Corduff: Ben Woods, John McEnaney, Sean McEnaney, Dylan McEnaney, Padraic Keenan, Conor McEnaney, Michael Connolly, Mark McEnaney, Cillian Marron, Jordan McGarrell (1-01), Gavin McEnaney, Jason Hand (0-01), Diarmaid Marron (0-03 0-1 free), Keith McEnaney (0-01), Feargal Hanratty (0-03 frees.

Subs: Martin Mills for G McEnaney 11', Shane Hand for S McEnaney 55', Michael Keenan for J Hand 55', Fionnan Cassidy for D Marron 60+4'.

Referee: Conor Dourneen (Cavan).