Cometh the hour, cometh Ciaran McFaul as Glen edge out Scotstown

Ciaran McFaul battles it out with Darren Hughes. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
Ciaran McFaul battles it out with Darren Hughes. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin Ciaran McFaul battles it out with Darren Hughes. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin

SIXTY minutes had gone and there was a point in it as a game that was balanced on the edge of a knife reached boiling point. Cometh the hour, cometh the man and when Ciaran McFaul left Darren Hughes in his wake and broke forward to send Glen two ahead you knew that was it for Scotstown.

The Monaghan champions battled right to the finish but Glen had weathered the storm and they were narrow, but deserving, winners when Paul Falloon called time on a terrific tussle at the wet and windy Athletic Grounds.

Afterwards McFaul let that winning feeling sink in. The Derry star missed last year’s Ulster success so this was a first provincial title for him.

“We finished strong,” he said.

“We knew it was going to go down to the wire with Scotstown. They have seven-eight county players and we knew it was going to be nip-and-tuck. We seem to give teams a head start in the first half so we were a bit worried at the start because we knew how good they are and with (Rory) Beggan in nets you can’t give away frees.

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“So it was all about keeping the intensity in the tackle - hands-in, hands-out – and thankfully we just got there in the end. Our aim was to press them heavy and go after Beggan’s kickout and I thought we did a good job of it.

“They went three up at the start of the second half and then we started pressing their kickout and we turned them over and started chipping away at their lead. Two points down at half-time wasn’t a big score, we knew we could settle down and press on and get the match-ups right.”

The victory meant Glen added their name to the elite list of back-to-back Ulster winners that includes Kilcoo, Slaughtneil, Crossmaglen, Burren, Scotstown, Clan na Gael and Bryansford.

“I missed last year so this is a great feeling,” said McFaul.

“The boys have done a serious shift to go back-to-back – not many teams have done that. It’s a serious group the man-management of Malachy and Ryan are brilliant – if boys need a day off, they’ll get a day off.

“It’s all player-driven. When I left (to go to USA) it was the older boys who were driving the thing but now the younger boys are stepping up and it’s horses for courses when it comes to places in the team. Nobody is secure of a place so everybody has to be on it every night at training.

“Our in-house games are incredible - the reserves beat us a lot of the time so it’s unbelievable, boys are in and out of the team and you don’t know who’s starting week on week. It’s a great environment to be in.  

“We haven’t thought of an All-Ireland yet. We’ll enjoy this for the next couple of days but we know what the test is down the line.”

Scotstown’s Darren Hughes, who had gone head-to-head with McFaul in another brilliant wholehearted display for his club, added: “We had our chances and we’ve only ourselves to blame. We gave it all but we missed crucial chances at crucial times.

“Glen are a good team and they’ll test you if you don’t take your chances and that’s what happened. There’s nothing nice about losing finals and you have to suck it up and get on with it.

“Glen are a formidable outfit, we were well prepared and we caused them plenty of problems but they had the answers and that’s why they’re up there lifting the trophy. We’ll dust ourselves down and go again.”