Gaoth Dobhair are celebrating a first ever Ulster Club SFC this evening following a hard-earned 0-13 to 0-12 extra-time victory over Scotstown in Healy Park, Omagh.
The Mervyn O’Donnell managed side subjected their Monaghan opponents to a second extra-time final defeat in four years en route to becoming the first Donegal club to claim the provincial title in 43 years.
The inclement weather wasn’t conducive to quality football but two evenly matched teams served up an absorbing encounter.
An official attendance of 5,313 witnessed a scrappy first-half finish with the sides level on 0-5 apiece.
Shane Carey raised three white flags in that period for Scotstown while five different players made the scoresheet for the team in green and white.
Two-time All-Star Kevin Cassidy registered one of his team’s points from his full-forward berth and his physicality caused plenty of problems for Scotstown throughout.
Two Carey frees either side of a Conor McCarthy effort parachuted Kieran Donnelly’s charges into a three point lead within eight minutes of the restart.
‘Man-of-the-match’ Odhran MacNiallais opened Gaoth Dobhair’s second-half account via a free in the 42nd minute and Cassidy cut the deficit to the bare minimum shortly after.
Gaoth Dobhair's Niall Friel and Ciaran Gillispie lift the Seamus MacFerran Cup. ©INPHO/Bryan Keane.
A trademark Rory Beggan run up the field set up corner-back Damien McArdle for a point but Naoise O Baoill cancelled that out almost immediately at the opposite end of the field.
The game was delicately poised at the three quarter hour mark with Scotstown ahead by 0-9 to 0-8.
Beggan converted a free shortly after and the Darren Hughes captained outfit were two points to the good entering the home straight.
Cassidy subsequently earned a free that Seamus Carroll pointed but Carey’s sixth point of the day restored Scotstown’s lead to two points with five minutes left on the clock.
Two MacNiallais points (one from a free) brought the Donegal men level with one minute of normal time.
There was drama at the end of normal time when Michael Carroll looked to have sent over the winner for Gaoth Dobhair but referee Noel Mooney spotted that Odhran McFadden-Ferry had thrown the ball to Carroll and correctly ruled it out.
Referee Mooney also got the call to issue Carey with his marching orders in the 68th minute right and the teams turned around for the second period of extra-time tied on 0-12 apiece.
14-man Scotstown then surrendered the lead for the first time since the third minute when substitute Shane Ferry raised a white flag midway through the second period of extra-time.
Soon after, a long range Rory Beggan fell short much to the delight of Gaoth Dobhair who also finished with 14 men after 2012 All-Ireland winner Eamon McGee was shown a second yellow card late on.
Gaoth Dobhair - C Sweeney; G McFadden, N McGee, C McFadden; N Friel, E McGee, O McFadden Ferry; D O Baoill, O MacNiallais (0-4, 3f); C Mulligan (0-1), N O Baoill (0-1), D McBride; E Collum (0-1), K Cassidy (0-2), M Carroll (0-1). Subs: J Carroll (0-1f) for E Collum, S Ferry (0-1) for N O Baoill, P McGee for D McBride, R Kelly (0-1) for C Mulligan, J Boyle for G McFadden.
Scotstown - R Beggan (0-2, 1f, 1'45); P Sherlock, R O’Toole, D McArdle (0-1); J McDevitt, D Morgan, E Caulfield; F Caulfield, D Hughes (0-1); F Maguire, K Hughes (0-1), J McCarey; S Carey (0-6), C McCarthy (0-1), R McKenna. Subs: J Hamill for R McKenna, O Heaphy for F Maguire, B Boylan for J McCarey, D McCrudden for F Caulfield.
Referee - N Mooney.Tweet