Scotstown (Monaghan) 0-12; Kilcoo (Down) 1-8
Whether or not he claims a goalkeeping All Star gong this Friday evening – he is in the frame along with Dublin’s Stephen Cluxton and Kerry’s Shane Ryan – you can be sure that Rory Beggan’s name will be top of the sporting conversation following his sensational score to down Kilcoo in a pulsating Ulster SF club championship quarter-final at Pairc Esler on Sunday afternoon.
The Down champs were everybody’s favorites to advance and for long stretches looked to be in pole position to claim a semi-final berth. But there is something about David McCague's men despite the long layoff since winning the Farney championship.
Kilcoo had a busy schedule with a first-round win over Fermanagh side Derrygonnelly the previous weekend. They were without talisman Jerome Johnston then and again against the Monaghan blues - a factor that could have been the difference but who knows?
The winners could equally point to the fact that Ryan McEvoy should have been red-carded in the sixth minute for his jump tackle on Brendan Boyle that surprised even his team’s followers when it was adjudged yellow rather than red. Such is the fine margins of winning and losing.
Kilcoo played in typical Kilcoo manner with defenders bombing forward to get scores while forwards worked back to prevent their opponents from opening up their defense.
The sides had different periods of dominance and there was little surprise when they arrived at the interval at 0-4 each – a classic Ulster tie where every score was doubly earned.
Beggan had a highlight moment before his denouement when he kicked a massive point from play after running forward to join his attack but that seemed to count for little when Ceilum Doherty was fouled by veteran Darren Hughes nine minutes into the half for a penalty which Paul Devlin powered home to give his side a two-point lead by 1-5 to 0-6.
Shealan Johnston and Anthony Morgan doubled that advantage and it was looking good for the Mournemen. However Scotstown dug in and Jack McCarron showed his class with a brace of his own. Still, with the witching hour approaching and officially only two minutes of the hour on the clock as Beggan and Jason Carey squared the tie with points from a free and a mark respectively.
They appeared to have shot their bolt when reduced to 14 men after Ross McKenna was black-carded and Devlin stuck a close in free over the black spot.
It was certainly putting it up to the Monaghan men in the five added minutes to find two scores with a man down. But that they did thanks to two moments of magic. Kieran Hughes made a brilliant mark and then stuck the kick between the posts before stepping forward again moments later to win a free with time almost up.
Beggan showed nerves of steel to unleash an exocet which stunned the home fans and drew loud levels of approval from the travelling Scotstown faithful as the final whistle sounded immediately afterwards.
Scotstown: R Began (0-3, 0-2f); B Boylan, R O'Toole, D McArdle; C McCarthy (0-1), D Morgan (0-1), E Caulfield; D Hughes, M McCarville; J Carey (0-2, 0-1m), S Carey (0-2, 0-1f), J Hamill; M Maguire, K Hughes (0-1m), J McCarron (0-2, 0-1f) Subs: D Murray for Caulfield (46), M McPhilips for Hamill (51), O Heaphy for J Carey (60+3).
Kilcoo: N Kane (0-1f); N Branagan, R McEvoy, A Branagan; M Rooney, (0-1) D Branagan (0-1), E Branagan (0-1); Aaron Morgan (0-1), R Johnston; S Johnston (0-1), J Devlin, Anthony Morgan (0-1); P Devlin (1-1, 1-0 pen, 0-1f), C Laverty, C Doherty Subs: S O McCusker for J Devlin (42), C Rooney for Laverty (57)
Ref: N Mooney (Cavan).
More GAA reports will follow tomorrow Tuesday. For full sports coverage, buy this week’s digital/print issue of the Irish Echo.
Ulster SF Club Quarter-Finals
Watty Graham's, Glen (Derry) 0-11; Erin's Own, Cargin (Antrim) 0-7
Scotstown (Monaghan) 0-12; Kilcoo (Down) 1-8
Naomh Conaill (Donegal) 2-8, Gowna (Cavan) 1-10
Connacht SF Club Quarter-Finals
Ballina Stephenites (Mayo) 3-11 Fulham Irish (London) 0-5
St Brigid’s (Roscommon) 0-13; Coolera-Strandhill (Sligo) 1-3
Leinster SH Club Quarter-Finals
Naas (Kildare) 2-17; Camross (Laois) 1-17
Na Fianna (Dublin) 1-24 Raharney (Westmeath) 0-19
Kilcormac-Killoughey (Offaly) 2-22; Naomh Eanna (Wexford) 0-14
O'Loughlin Gaels (Kilkenny) 2-16 Mount Leinster Rangers (Carlow) 0-13
Munster SF Club Quarter-Finals
Clonmel Commercials (Tipperary) 2-7 Newcastle West (Limerick) 0-6
Castlehaven (Cork) 1-12 Cratloe (Clare) 0-11 – AET