Bryan Keane/INPHO Peter McGee, Niall Friel and Christopher McFadden celebrate at the final whistle
# game of inches
Gaoth Dobhair edge epic battle to become first Donegal club in 43 years to win Ulster SFC
Scotstown lost the six-point Shane Carey in extra-time and Gaoth Dobhair crept over the line in a seismic contest.

Gaoth Dobhair (Donegal) 0-13

Scotstown (Monaghan) 0-12

(after extra-time)

Alan Foley reports from Healy Park

GAOTH DOBHAIR BECAME only the second Donegal side ever to win the Ulster Senior Football Championship with a one-point victory over Scotstown in an epic at Healy Park.

43 long years have passed since the now-defunct Bundoran-Ballyshannon amalgamation St Joseph’s triumphed in the province and today’s final, which was decided by a Seaghan Ferry point six minutes from the end of extra-time, will be written into folklore in Mageragallon.

Gweedore team celebrate with the Seamus MacFerran Cup Bryan Keane / INPHO Gaoth Dobhair are just the second ever Donegal club to win Ulster Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

It was the first time Gaoth Dobhair had led since the 14th minute and on a nerve-shredding afternoon, Rory Beggan saw a late effort from a 45 fall short. It was fetched by Peter McGee underneath the crossbar before Scotstown’s Emmet Caulfield scuffed their chances of a replay wide.

The sending off of Shane Carey – the scorer of six Scotstown points – was key as extra-time took place and Eamon McGee was also dismissed in the final seconds for picking up a second yellow card.

For long spells, it looked as though the Monaghan champions were on their way to a fifth Ulster crown and first since 1989.

Three points at the start of the second half – just at a time when the sun was finally breaking through the grey Omagh skies – finally put some daylight between the finalists. But, a bit like the elements, it wasn’t to last.

Carey popped over two frees either side of an inspirational Conor McCarthy point to give Scotstown an 0-8 to 0-5 lead. At the other end, Damien McArdle made a telling block in front of his own goal to stop Daire O Baoill in his tracks. It looked as though the chips were edging towards to Scotstown side of the table.

Points from Kevin Cassidy and Naoise Ó Baoill kept Gaoth Dobhair in touch before goalkeeper Beggan joined the attack to firstly set up McArdle for a point and then pop over a long-range free himself.

With 10 minutes left, Scotstown had a fragile 0-10 to 0-9 advantage. And when Carey added his sixth of the day with five minutes to go — a splendid curling effort with the outside of the boot — they were on the cusp.

Ordhran McFadden Ferry and Kieran Hughes Bryan Keane / INPHO Ordhran McFadden Ferry is felled by Kieran Hughes Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

However, two late points from Odhran MacNiallais brought Gaoth Dobhair on terms at 0-11 apiece and two frenetic minutes of injury time failed to produce a winner. Match referee Noel Mooney from Cavan blew for time, giving the crowd a chance to get their breath back.

To supplement the drama, Michael Carroll sent over what looked to be the winning Gaoth Dobhair point in the dying embers of injury time – only for Mooney to have blown for a thrown ball by Odhran McFadden-Ferry seconds earlier.

In the first of the 10-minute periods, Beggan edged Scotstown in front with a 45′ before James Boyle levelled it at 0-12 apiece at the interval.

Tellingly, Carey was then given a straight red for striking Boyle and Scotstown were down to 14.

From then on, Gaoth Dobhair seized the initiative.

Micheal Carrol and Frank Caulfield Bryan Keane / INPHO Micheal Carrol and Frank Caulfield challenge for a ball in the air. Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

In miserable conditions at the Tyrone county ground, there was nothing between the teams in an initially claustrophobic encounter. At the break in normal time, which felt like a lifetime beforehand, it was 0-5 to 0-5 with never more than a point between them.

Amid a clutter of interesting match-ups and subplots, Scotstown were determined not to let their opponents from the Gaeltacht to get running in behind – a significant contributor in Gaoth Dobhair’s toppling of Crossmaglen Rangers on a 4-11 to 0-16 scoreline in the semi-final two weeks beforehand.

Therefore, scores were at a premium, although the shooting accuracy of both was commendable with Scotstown kicking just two wides in the first half and Gaoth Dobhair dropping just one opportunity short.

Carey kicked three Scotstown points and was joined on the scoreboard by the Hughes brothers, Kieran and Darren. For Gaoth Dobhair, MacNiallais, Michael Carroll, Eamon Collum, Cassidy and Cian Mulligan all pointed.

The closest either side came to a goal was when a Collum effort dropped short and Beggan saved the follow-up from Daire O Baoill before the All-Star goalkeeper emerged with possession.

Even then it looked as though a goal would go a long way towards winning it. As it turned out a point was more than enough for Gaoth Dobhair.

Niall Friel and Garry McFadden celebrate after the game Bryan Keane / INPHO Niall Friel and Garry McFadden embrace after the final whistle Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

Scorers for Gaoth Dobhair: Odhran Mac Niallais (0-4, 3f), Kevin Cassidy (0-2), Cian Mulligan (0-1), Naoise O Baoill (0-1), Eamonn Collum (0-1), Michael Carroll (0-1), James Carroll (0-1f), Seaghan Ferry (0-1), James Boyle (0-1)

Scorers for Scotstown: Shane Carey (0-6, 3f), Rory Beggan (0-2, 1f, 1 45′), Damien McArdle (0-1), Kieran Hughes (0-1), Conor McCarthy (0-1), Darren Hughes (0-1)

Gaoth Dobhair:

Christopher Sweeney; Gary McFadden, Neil McGee, Christopher McFadden; Niall Friel, Eamon McGee, Odhran McFadden-Ferry; Daire Ó Baoill, Odhran Mac Niallais; Cian Mulligan, Naoise Ó Baoill, Dan McBride; Eamonn Collum, Kevin Cassidy, Michael Carroll

Subs: James Carroll for Collum (34), Seaghan Ferry for N. Ó Baoill (60), Peter McGee for McBride (60), James Boyle for McFadden (64)


Rory Beggan; Paul Sherlock, Ryan O’Toole, Damien McArdle; Jack McDevitt, Donal Morgan, Emmet Caulfield; Frank Caulfield, Kieran Hughes; Francis Maguire, Conor McCarthy, Jamie McCarey; Shane Carey, Darren Hughes, Ross McKenna

Subs: James Hamill for McKenna (53), Orin Heaphy for Maguire (57), Brendan Boylan for McCarey (70), Dermot McCrudden for Caulfield (80)

Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan)

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