Glen show they know what to do when they get punched in the face as Scotstown's hearts are broken again

Ethan Doherty takes on Conor McCarthy during Glen's win over Scotstown. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
Ethan Doherty takes on Conor McCarthy during Glen's win over Scotstown. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin Ethan Doherty takes on Conor McCarthy during Glen's win over Scotstown. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin

AIB Ulster Senior Club Football Championship final: Glen 0-13 Scotstown 0-11

From Cahair O’Kane at the Box-It Athletic Grounds

EVERYTHING Glen have learned in the last ten years, they poured into the last ten minutes of this enthralling Ulster final.

They say everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. Glen have become the animal that almost likes the feel of that punch, as if it awakens them.

Every time the gauntlet has landed at their feet this year, they’ve picked it up and run. Slaughtneil, Magherafelt, Cargin, Naomh Conaill, now Scotstown, they all brought a war of some description.

As they’ve done on each occasion, Glen brought the big finish.

Just when they looked to have wrestled control of this game by getting ahead having been three down in challenging conditions, they gave away a soft score from a free and then Rory Beggan was thrice involved before scoring to push Scotstown 0-10 to 0-9 ahead.

The blue brigade at the other end of a packed stand in Armagh bristled with excitement as the clock ticked into the last ten.

Scotstown thought they had delivered the knockout blow. Glen hardly blinked.

They came straight down the field. Conor Glass drifted to the far post and kept Danny Tallon’s wayward effort in, feeding Tiarnan Flanagan to instantly remove the wind from An Bhoth sails.

Read more:

  • How the Glen players fared: Mulholland leads the way again as Glen's big-game players show up
  • How the Scotstown players rated: Hughes brothers, Beggan, McCarthy heroic in Ulster final loss
  • "Kilmacud were the better team last year..." Leinster champions await as Glen retain their Ulster crown

With five minutes to go, Conor Glass broke a kickout to Cathal Mulholland, followed up to score and pointed into the stand, feeling as though they’d finally broken Scotstown’s resistance.

When Ciaran McFaul careered up the middle and the blue shirts all backed off, the ribbons were being tied. Jody McDermott, son of former Scotstown Ulster Club winner Roger, took the safest of options when he fisted over from the endline with Rory Beggan all at sea.

From Beggan’s point until Kieran Hughes’ late effort was palmed over by Connlan Bradley, Glen had seven attacks and Scotstown had four. Glen scored 0-3 and Scotstown only had that Hughes point to show.

It was an enthralling hour’s football, typical of recent Ulster Club finals, only this one was played after some squalid pre-match rain whipped up a storm that blew into the end Scotstown attacked first.

The quality of play on both sides was astonishing. There were mistakes but not nearly as many as you’d expect in the conditions.

Paul Faloon had cause to show just one yellow card. The referee on whom there’s been so much focus for the last two months blended beautifully into the background of a spectacle that was the equal of any.

Glen didn’t initially deal with the problems deposited at their feet. Scotstown lined out with Jack McCarron, Darren Hughes and Conor McCarthy in the full-forward line. McCarthy quickly retreated into his battle with Ethan Doherty.

Hughes hurt Glen. They couldn’t decide whether to bring Emmett Bradley back with him or move Michael Warnock across, and they didn’t really get it sorted properly, eventually sending Ciaran McFaul to full-back with him at times.

Glen players celebrate after their win over Scotstown in the Ulster Club SFC final at the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds                                                                                Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
Glen players celebrate after their win over Scotstown in the Ulster Club SFC final at the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds Picture: Margaret McLaughlin Glen players celebrate after their win over Scotstown in the Ulster Club SFC final at the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds Picture: Margaret McLaughlin

Darren Hughes left his whole soul out on the pitch in Armagh. The distance he covered trucking from midfield to full-forward, the damage he did, was nothing normal.

For him particularly to have lost three Ulster Club finals and to slip another year closer to never winning one is a cruelty, but such is the standard.

Kieran had a full-time tag in the shape of Jody McDermott. He too had big moments, not least the brilliant score with the last kick of the first half that left Scotstown 0-7 to 0-5 ahead.

Conor McCarthy was the game’s most influential player in the first 15 minutes. He had big plays throughout.

Scotstown had failed to deal with Eunan Mulholland just as pretty much everyone else had all year. When they moved McCarthy across, they shut that door but they opened Ethan Doherty’s, and that hurt them too.

Hindsight is always 20-20 but you wonder if they had their time again, would David McCague have made the same change.

Doherty had a big second half, his biggest of the year. Danny Tallon had his best game of the season. Ciaran McFaul had his. The players that were questioned stood up and answered.

Conor Glass was immense in the game’s beginning and its end, dragging Glen into it and then pushing them home with that big score to put them 0-11 to 0-10 ahead.

When they were two behind early in the second half, Eunan Mulholland got on the ball and scored. Next thing, Ryan Dougan is up kicking the equaliser from 40 yards. He kept Jack McCarron to a single point and one foul, a great day’s work on the in-form forward of the competition.

The game’s three big goal chances were spurned. Mulholland’s first-half effort was clawed away by the big long left arm of Rory Beggan, who wasn’t tagged to the same extent as against Trillick, but wasn’t ignored either.

He was at the heart of a brilliant move that put Darragh Murray through on goal, but the sub’s effort was brilliantly blocked by a full-length Michael Warnock when the Derry men were a point up with three minutes to go.

Earlier, Darren Hughes had denied by Connlan Bradley’s feet when he spun in behind.

As they came to the final bend, Glen’s recent history became far more relevant than Scotstown’s ancient annals.

You can run murderball and walk through this and that but it’s only when you get that slap in the gob that you learn what you’re about.

Glen spent an entire history getting punched about in Derry and having no answers. Since Malachy O’Rourke took over, they’ve become iron-jawed.

A club that had never won a senior Derry title until 26 months ago has become only the second club from the county ever to retain the Seamus McFerran Cup, following in the footsteps of their neighbours Slaughtneil.

In winning it for the second time they match, in provincial terms, their friends on the other side of town, Lavey, and their great side of the early ‘90s.

The horizon is a familiar shade of gold and purple. Such enmity from a one-off meeting is rare but the fires of Glen v Kilmacud will need no stoking.

Good teams win once.

In Ulster Club terms, Glen can now be considered a great team.

It’s in All-Ireland terms they’ll be thinking now.


Glen: C Bradley; M Warnock, R Dougan (0-1), C Carville; C McFaul (0-1), C Mulholland, T Flanagan (0-1); C Glass (0-2, 0-1free), J McDermott (0-1), E Bradley; E Doherty (0-1), J Doherty, C McGuckian, E Mulholland (0-3); D Tallon (0-3, 0-2frees)

Sub: A Doherty for J Doherty (54), S O’Hara for McDermott (62)

Blood sub: A Doherty for Glass (10-12)

Scotstown: R Beggan (0-1); B Boylan, R O’Toole; D Morgan; C McCarthy (0-1), D McArdle, E Caulfield; D Hughes (0-1), M McCarville; J Carey, S Carey (0-3frees), K Hughes (0-2), J Hamill (0-2); J McCarron (0-1), M Maguire

Subs: D Murray for M Maguire (42), M McPhillips for J Hamill (52), R Malley for Boylan (58), F Maguire for J Carey (62)

Referee: P Faloon (Down)

Attendance: 6,047