Glen celebrate winning the Ulster Senior Football Championship. Inpho/Declan Roughan

Glory in the Glen as Kilcoo dethroned

Glen (Derry) 1-12; Kilcoo  (Down) 1-6

The beauty of Ulster football is that there is no such thing as a racing certainty.

Even though reigning provincial and All-Ireland champions Kilcoo looked imperious through this new campaign, there is always a booby trap around the corner, and Glen proved to be just that in the Athletic Grounds on Sunday.

Just a year after bowing the knee to the Down kingpins, revenge was indeed sweet for the Derry champs as they took control of the game and were never headed in a keenly fought contest in front of a huge crowd and played on a very good surface despite the winter snap having arrived late last week.

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The scoreline suggests the winners had a bit more to spare than was actually the case because there was only the proverbial kick of a ball between the two sides until Alex Doherty took advantage late on of Kilcoo’s desperation to attack at all costs by plundering a goal after intercepting a poor kickout.

This was as fine a contest as you expect to see by two well drilled teams two weeks out from Christmas.Glen's revenge mission was clear for all to see in their matchups.  Manager Malachy O’Rourke will take the honours in the way he set up to counter  Kilcoo’s extraordinary ability to penetrate when opponents lost the ball.

It was noticeable too that the Derry boys confident play had Kilcoo struggling to keep in their shadow from the moment key attacker Danny Tallon scored the first of five frees thanks to great graft and skill by Conleth McGuckian in turning over Down possession.

That score ignited the challengers to kick on and  four more white flags by Emmett Bradley (free), the imperious Conor Glass, the elusive McGuckian and Jack Doherty meant they had thrown down the challenge in a big way.   

Nothing was going Kilcoo’s way yet it is to their great credit that they can emerge from such moments by finding something to bring them back into the fray.

 And so it was as cornerback Aaron Branagan’s was rewarded for his off the ball running to latch onto Dylan Ward’s pass to flick the ball adroitly to the back of the net. 

This changed the complexion of the game although it didn’t help Kilcoo when their star player Paul Devlin almost immediately saw black from a challenge.

In his absence the clever Tallon and marauding fullback Ryan Dougan driven the Derry boys ahead at the half time break by 0-7 to 1-3. That could have been so different though if the returned to action Devlin had found the back of the net instead of the butt of the post and wide from a penalty kick.

On the changeover, it was Glen who again appeared the hungrier for the  action and were rewarded when Tallon and Bradley landed placed balls to edge the lead out to three.

Devlin made up for his miss by slotting over a brace of frees to keep his side on the hip of their foes. Glen held possession more than ever as the low sun meant it was harder for the man in possession to see run going on ahead on him.

When Darryl Branagan got another Kilcoo score, it didn’t rattle Glen Ethan Doherty point felt like it was more than just an ordinary white flag.

It was now panic time for Kilcoo and when Tallon added another free, they knew they had to chase a goal to force extra time as the clock was in the red and there wasn’t time to pick off points.

In the mad haste, it was perhaps inevitable that a mistake would be made, and it was punished to the full when  Doherty intercepted a pass out of defence and rounded the keeper before slotting the ball home into an empty net. Afterward the young forward said the score was the “best moment of his football career”.

He went on: “It’s probably the best day the club has had in its history, the first Ulster title. It’s unbelievable, I can’t even put it into words, it’s some buzz.

“Someone said to me we were leading the whole way through and it sort of felt like that, we way playing the better of the two teams. We know what Kilcoo are made of, they’re All-Ireland champions for a reason and it’s always going to be nip and tuck the whole way through.

“I thought we played class and in the second-half, really upped our level and finished it out strongly,” he told RTE sports.

Glen: C Bradley; C Carville, R Dougan (0-1), M Warnock; T Flanagan, C Mulholland, E Doherty (0-1); C Glass (0-1), E Bradley (0-2f); E Mulholland, C McGuckian (0-1), C Convery; J Doherty (0-1), D Tallon (0-5f), A Doherty (1-0).

Subs: Cathair McCabe for Convery (57).

Kilcoo: N Kane; R McEvoy (0-1f), N Branagan, A Branagan (1-1); E Branagan, D Branagan (0-1), M Rooney; A Morgan, D Ward; C Doherty, R Johnston, S Johnston; C Laverty, J Johnston (0-1m), P Devlin(0-2f) Subs: A Morgan for Ward (ht), S Óg McCusker for E Branagan (56),

Ref: J McQuillan (Cavan).

Kerins O’Rahilly's (Kerry) 2-6; Newcastle West (Limerick) 1-8

It was a case of so near yet so far for Limerick champions Newcastle West as Kerry representatives Kerins O’Rahilly’s finally savored their first Munster title at Mallow on Saturday.

And veteran former Kerry star Tommy Walsh scored a goal and made the other on a day when the stars aligned for the giant forward in a big game.

The Strand Road Club in Tralee have now become the eighth Kerry team to claim provincial honours. And it was those two green flag moments within a five minute period  by Walsh and another former Kerry star, Barry John Keane, which were the deciding scores in an otherwise tight game throughout after Mike McMahon had managed to cancel out the first Kerry goal almost immediately.

With the three goals coming in a clutter, both sets of mentors decided to go back to old fashioned long ball tactics by pumping high, long balls into the edge of the square in the hope their big men would continue to do the business.

After a first moiety which grudgingly spat up the minimum of goalmouth action with only seven scores. Walsh’s ability to catch high ball yielded both winners’ goals in the first 10 minutes after the changeover while McMahon similarly won two high balls which created a goal and a goal chance that wasn’t converted.

Gavin O’Brien had had his side on the front foot after claiming the throw in and following a mesmerizing solo run, he passed for sub Ben Hanafin to point with his first touch.

Jack Savage nible nature set up Kerin’s first goal as Walsh’s shot was half blocked but ended up nestling in the Limerick net.

  Within seconds Cormac Coffey slotted over a point to make it a four-point game 1-5 to 0-4.

At the other end, McMahon set up  Cian Sheehan for a shot which came off the post but McMahon reacted quickest to steer home the rebound and make it a  one-point game.

As the crowd drew breath with all the action at both ends, there was more to savour almost immediately as Kerry midfielder David Moran launch a skyrocket on top of Walsh who laid it off to Keane to slam home an unstoppable shot.

It settled for a while before Eoin Hurley from a free and Tom Hoare exchanged scores but it was noticeable that defences were now on top again.

Moran opted to be an auxiliary full back to counter the high missiles thrown in from deep as the Kerry boys decided to get to the sanctuary of the final whistle by defending what they had as Hoare’s 47th-minute point was to prove their last score.

Newcastle chipped away at the lead with two Hurley frees, before Aaron Neville cut the lead to the minimum though he went in search of a goal.

Limerick sought a last chance for redemption but it never arrived as O’Rahilly’s held out for a famous victory for their club.

Kerins O’Rahillys: S Foley; D McElligott, R O’Callaghan (capt), C Barrett; C Coffey (0-1), K Mullins, P Neenan; D Moran, G O’Brien; G Savage, J Savage (0-2f), T Hoare (0-1); BJ Keane (1-0), T Walsh (1-1, 0-1m), C Hayes.

Subs: B Hanafin (0-1) for G Savage (h-t), R Carroll for Barrett (38), D O’Sullivan for Hayes (58).

Newcastle West: M Quilligan; M O’Keeffe, D O’Doherty, B O’Sullivan; I Corbett (capt), R O’Connor, J Kelly; E Rigter, S Murphy; D Kelly, S Hurley, C Sheehan; S Stack (0-1), M McMahon (1-0), Eoin Hurley (0-5f) Subs: T O’Donovan for S Hurley (40), A Neville for J Kelly (46), B Nix for Murphy (51), T Quilligan for D Kelly (56).

Ref: S Lonergan (Tipperary).

Fossa (Kerry) 1-17; Kilmurray (Cork) 0-6

They will need to  add on a room at the Clifford households to house all the medals and honours that have arrived in the 2022 calendar year for brothers Paudie and David.

On Saturday, their home team Fossa won the Munster Club Junior Football final in Mallow after trouncing Cork side Kilmurray by 14 points.

The brothers were led the victory parade with David Clifford scoring 0-10 while his older brother accounted for 1-4. That means between them they scored 1-14 of the Fossa 1-17 total, with the sole green flag a cheeky backheel finish.

The win translates into a sixth title each this season for the duo.

They already had claimed medals in the National League, Munster Championship medals and the All-Ireland Celtic Crosses with their county as well as the Kerry Senior championship with East Kerry.

Some haul but it is not finished yet as they added the Kerry and Munster Junior Championship with their club to complete the six-pacts.