Football

Scotstown's Shane Carey still loves Ulster Club despite final defeats

Scotstown's Shane Carey (right) attempts to curb Ciaran McFaul of Glen during their 2021 meeting. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Scotstown's Shane Carey (right) attempts to curb Ciaran McFaul of Glen during their 2021 meeting. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin Scotstown's Shane Carey (right) attempts to curb Ciaran McFaul of Glen during their 2021 meeting. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

SCOTSTOWN may be joint third on the Ulster Senior Club Football roll of honour, but their current and recent players could be forgiven for having mixed feelings about the competition.

The Monaghan men lost both the 2015 and 2018 finals by narrow margins, to Crossmaglen Rangers and Gaoth Dobhair respectively, and still await a fifth title since their last triumph in 1989.

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However, centre half-forward Shane Carey isn’t feeling fear even ahead of a testing final this Sunday against reigning champions Glen of Derry, instead commenting:

“We’re a very proud club when it comes to the Ulster Club. I really love the competition personally, absolutely love the competition.”

Carey pointed to their thrilling semi-final encounter, which went to extra time against the Tyrone champions, saying: “You saw that, the end of November against Trillick and you’re getting a spectacle like that in the Athletic Grounds. It’s a class competition, real hard football.

“There’s nowhere else we want to be in December than going into an Ulster Club Final and preparing as best we can to go at it again in the Scotstown jersey. That’s all we’re focussed on, really looking forward to that battle.”

He is, obviously, fully aware of the quality of their opponents, saying of the Maghera men:

“Glen’s a serious outfit: serious backroom team, serious management, serious players, serious quality. They’ve got that experience now this last couple of years as well.

“Yeah, they beat us up in Celtic Park a couple of years ago, beat us fair and square, and have gone on to do great things since then.

“They were unlucky not to win an All-Ireland title last time, you saw what happened in that game. There was that bit of controversy at the end and they could easily have been All-Ireland champions.

“You don’t really need to explain that to anyone. The whole country knows they’re a serious outfit so, look, it’s a big task.”

He has had first hand experience of the Glen manager Malachy O’Rourke and trainer Ryan Porter from the duo’s successful team in charge of the Monaghan senior football team.

They ended the Farney county’s long wait for an Ulster title a decade ago so Carey was not at all surprised at the impact they have had on Glen – taking them to their first ever Derry crown, and then to Ulster success last season:  

“Look it, I know them well personally and they’ve done a serious job in Glen – they do a serious job wherever they go. Serious football men, serious people.

“You can see what they’re doing there, they’ve got that group working extremely well to a system and playing very well.

“They know us, they know us very well. That’s perfectly fine. We’ve seen Glen play plenty of times – we’ve watched them plenty of times because they’ve been getting to the later stages of competitions.”

His viewing of Glen makes him discount any suggestion that Glen have not really been firing in this campaign, having had tough battles to progress past Antrim champs Cargin and then Naomh Conaill of Donegal:

“Jeez, I don’t know about that,” said Carey. “They put away the county final in Derry very well [against Magherafelt], they handled a very tricky challenge against Slaughtneil [in the Derry semi-final]. They’re coming through these battles very well. They seem to be tipping along.

“We have to focus on ourselves, that’s all we can control, We have learning to do – we wouldn’t be happy with our performance against Trillick at times. Yes, we showed serious character and legs and know-how but our shot selection, our skill execution we probably wouldn’t be that happy with. That’s what we need to tidy up.”

What did please Carey about that win after extra time was their resilience, even though some doubts had been expressed about ‘miles on the clock’ for older players in their panel:

 “That bit of character came through from the whole group. Extra time was pure carnage…That’s where you go to the level of your training. We back absolutely everyone on the team to make the right decisions, on the ball and outside of possession.

“We’ve done a lot of work now and we’d back ourselves in that department. We’ve come through a lot of hard tests in Monaghan, and against Kilcoo and Trillick, we were well tested in terms of fitness and physicality.

“There’s nothing but energy around our set-up. You come to training on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday night and you’ll see nothing but energy and hard work, there’s no question about that.”