Corduff 2-7 Swanlinbar 0-8 12/12/10
Corduff became the third successive Monaghan club to win the Ulster JFC when they beat highly-rated Cavan champions Swanlinbar at Kingspan Breffni Park, Cavan on Sunday. Goals in either half from Shane Malone and Pádraic Keenan proved crucial for Corduff, who had all six forwards on the scoresheet. Monaghan Junior Footballer of the Year Declan Larkin continued his excellent form for Corduff, as he won the Man-of-the-Match award for his effective man-marking job on Swanlinbar danger-man Gearóid McKiernan. Shane McNally Jnr., Ben Woods, Ciarán Brennan, Shane Connolly and Malone also played well for Corduff, while Damien Leydon, McKiernan and John and Michael Cunningham led the way for Swanlinbar.
Swanlinbar got off to a good start with a first-minute point from Gearóid McKiernan, but Corduff gradually got on top around midfield and they should have opened their account long before Brendan McNally won and scored a 20-metre free on ten minutes. Corduff finally got the reward for their efforts when Shane Malone scored a fine goal in the 17th minute. Malone won a break from a long free by Declan Larkin and burst through to fire to the net. Mark Cunningham replied from a free for Swanlinbar, but Pauric Gollogly linked up with Martin Mills to restore Corduff’s three-point lead. Shane Connolly added a well-taken point following good work by Malone and Gollogly, before Mills set-up Keith McEnaney to make it three in as many minutes for the south-Monaghan men. McKiernan pulled back a point for Swad to close the gap to four at half-time: Corduff 1-4 Swanlinbar 0-3.
A Mark Cunningham free brought Swanlinbar back to within a goal two minutes into the second half and Robbie Prior tapped over a 13-metre free for a foul on John Cunningham, although Shane McNally Jnr. had clearly been fouled in the build-up. Damien Leydon kicked a good point to keep Swanlinbar’s momentum going and leave just the minimum between the teams, but Brendan McNally converted a close-range free, following a foul on Raymond Byrne, for a much-needed score for Corduff. The game’s key score came after 45 minutes when Corduff sub Pádraic Keenan got on the end of a Gollogly pass to drill a low shot in for a goal with his first touch of the ball, just seconds after he had replaced the first goal-scorer, Malone. Leydon linked up with John Cunningham to get a point back for Swad, before Mills fired a great goal chance wide, after he had been put clean through by a long ball from Declan Larkin. Byrne added a point after he had been well-placed by Gollogly and although McKiernan hit back following good approach play by Leydon, Corduff wrapped up the win with a late point from Martin Mills at the end of a well-worked move involving Byrne, Keith McEnaney and Larkin. Corduff captain Gerry Mee, who was only able to come on in the dying seconds due to injury, accepted the cup from Ulster Council President Aogán Farrell, following in the footsteps of John Flannery (Emyvale) and Colm Lambe (Drumhowan) in the previous two years. Monaghan have now moved ahead of Tyrone in the Ulster JFC roll of honour (four to three) since the competition became officially recognised.
Corduff: D Byrne; B Woods, S McNally Snr., C Brennan; S McNally Jnr, D Larkin, G King; C Connolly, S Connolly (0-1); M Mills (0-1), S Malone (1-0), P Gollogly (0-1); K McEnaney (0-1), R Byrne (0-1), B McNally (0-2f).
Subs: P Keenan (1-0) for Malone (45 mins) G Mee (Capt.) for Woods, C McEnaney for B McNally (both 61).
Swanlinbar: G Leydon; T O’Brien, Michael Cunningham, P Prior; D Leydon (0-2), A McGoldrick, P Leydon; M Curran, J Cunningham (Capt.); P McGovern, G McKiernan (0-3), C Curran; Mark Cunningham (0-2f), K Brennan, R Prior (0-1f).
Referee: S McNamee (Tyrone).