Gaelic GamesMatch Report

Glen experience tells as they hold off Scotstown to retain Ulster title

Victory sets up the Derry champions for another clash with Kilmacud Crokes, after last season’s controversial final

Ulster club SFC final: Glen (Derry) 0-13 Scotstown (Monaghan) 0-11

Watty Graham’s of Glen retained their Ulster Senior Club title after a thunderous battle with Scotstown on Sunday evening.

Danny Tallon and man of the match Eunan Mulholland top scored with three points apiece as Malachy O’Rourke’s men turned over a two-point half-time deficit to once again lift the Seamus McFerran Cup. The victory now sets up an enticing and highly anticipated All Ireland semi-final after Christmas with old foes Kilmacud Crokes.

Beaten Scotstown more than played their part in a terrific arm wrestle, but ultimately their lengthy interregnum as provincial kings extends yet another year on from that storied 1989 win.

When these sides met in the Ulster Club quarter-final two years ago, the Monaghan side were hammered 1-18 to 0-12. Their 2023 clash would be a much better scrap, with Glen’s high scoring defenders, who outscored their forwards, eventually edging the tie to the Derry champions.


The bright early morning Armagh weather receded dramatically to a dark and dreary winter’s evening, with the wind and rain picking up markedly as referee Paul Faloon threw the ball in at the Athletic Grounds.

The best score of the opening 30 minutes from the mercurial Kieran Hughes handed Scotstown a 0-7 to 0-5 advantage at the break.

In a frantic opening, Scotstown settled well and raced to an early 0-2 to no score lead, with Shane Carey and James Hamill points. Playing into a stiff breeze, Glen pulled level after 10 minutes through frees from Conor Glass and then Danny Tallon.

Conor McCarthy restored the Monaghan champion’s lead, as the Derry men prodded and poked, unsuccessfully for 15 minutes, at a tightly constructed defensive rearguard for any chinks or openings.

Darren Hughes landed a lovely curling effort to double Scotstown’s lead before a second from James Hamill stretched the Páirc Mhuire men’s lead to 0-5 to 0-2.

Despite squandering a decent goal chance when Rory Beggan’s outstretched palm denied Eunan Mulholland’s rasping effort, Glen hit three of the next four points to reduce their arrears, with young Mulholland helping himself to a fine brace.

Shane Carey’s second score of the first half and that final Hughes point, however, left the Monaghan men two up at the interval.

David McCague’s men extended their lead to three shortly after the restart courtesy of Conor McCarthy, with jet-heeled Jack McCarron providing the crucial spadework for the point.

But by the 42nd minute Glen had taken the lead for the first time in the contest, courtesy of four consecutive scores, as they systematically began to turn the screw.

A Danny Tallon free ignited the scoring splurge, with a confident Mulholland strike, a Ryan Dougan monster and then a zig zagging Ethan Doherty handing their side a 0-9 to 0-8 lead.

Scotstown remained dangerous however. Conlann Bradley pulled off an outstanding save from close range to deny Darren Hughes, who turned his man and burst through on goal. Indeed a second Carey free and a superb Rory Beggan point – where the big goalkeeper slalomed his way in and out of the Watty’s defence to split the sticks – once again wrestled the lead back to the Monaghan champs.

But in the remaining five minutes of a titanic tussle, Glen found a path to victory. Conor Glass showed real leadership qualities when he landed a massive effort to restore the Watty’s advantage at 0-11 to 0-10. County team-mate Ciaran McFaul did likewise when he found a pocket of space to score his first of the day in the 59th minute.

Jody McDermott, barely fit to run as cramp had visibly tightened his hamstring, swung over a point on the hour mark before being replaced by fresh legs.

It all added up to Scotstown requiring a goal to maintain their fading hopes alive with the clock deep in the red. Kieran Hughes came closest for the team in blue when he rifled a bullet goal-ward only to see ‘keeper Bradley palm his effort over the crossbar for a point.

And that was that. Glen are once again Ulster champions with a hot date with Kilmacud up next.

GLEN: C Bradley, M Warnock, R Dougan (0-1), C Carville, E Mulholland (0-3), C McFaul (0-1), C Mulholland, C Glass (0-2, 1f), E Bradley, E Doherty (0-1), J Doherty, J McDermott (0-1), T Flanagan (0-1), D Tallon (0-3, 2fs), C McGuckian. Subs: A Doherty for J Doherty (53 mins), S O’Hara for J McDermott (60 mins).

SCOTSTOWN: R Beggan (0-1), B Boylan, R O’Toole, D McCardle, C McCarthy (0-1), D Morgan, E Caulfield, D Hughes (0-1), M McCarville, J Carey, S Carey (0-3, 2fs), J Hamill (0-2), M Maguire, K Hughes (0-2), J McCarron (0-1). Subs: D Murray for Maguire (44 mins), M McPhilips for Hamill (53 mins), R Malley for Boylan (58 mins), f Maguire for J Carey (63 mins).

Referee: Paul Faloon (Down).