Magheracloone          1-10  Scotstown                   0-05

 The Mick Duffy Cup moves southwards for the first time as Magheracloone defeated Scotstown in the senior final at Clones on Sunday. The history making win comes seven years after Magheracloone were promoted to senior ranks. Over that period they have won two senior league titles. They have contested a county final and went out at the semi final stage last year. This was the culmination of that preparatory period. Their day had come and they took it with relish.

Magheracloone team manager David Reilly, a former Louth star, summed it up. Magheracloone were the better team on the day. They already had the experience of losing a county final. This he felt was the best chance to make that historic breakthrough and they knew it. They had to take their chance and go for it. Though unhappy with a few things he generally felt that his side were strong at both ends and this was a major plus.

Magheracloone’s Tom Freeman was in top form, picking off some extraordinary points the first of which opened the scoring and while Scotstown’s Keith Mc Gonnell replied the sides continued to exchange points through Keith Gilsenan and Colm Mc Elwain.

While Magheracloone were dominating the exchanges they found it difficult to shake off this tenacious Scotstown side. There was some respite when Tom Freeman put them in front but then came that Paudie Finnegan goal. A long ball into Damien Freeman who parted to Finnegan who cut straight through and coolly rounded the outcoming Scotstown keeper to calmly slot it to the net.

This forced a rethink in the Scotstown approach to the game. Their style of blanket defence and everyone behind the ball is very much dependent on taking the lead early on but Finnegan’s goal changed everything. From here on in they were forced to chase the game and this was their Achilles heel which Magheracloone exploited to the maximum.

While Scotstown tossed over a couple of points through Colm Mc Elwain and Shane Mc Carville before the break, it was Magheracloone who were making the running and they began to stretch the lead hitting three points from Fintan Kindlon, Tom Freeman and Paudie Finnegan to open up a five point lead at the interval as the score stood. Magheracloone 1-06   Scotstown  0-04.

With Francie Doogan now firmly calling the shots in the middle of the field Magheracloone continued their push forward and when Paudie Finnegan opened the second half scoring the pressure was now really on Scotstown to come out of their shells and really attack this game. But in so doing they were found wanting up front and that was one of the real differences. Over the entire second half period they managed only one score and that was a consolation point which came eight minutes from the end and was incidentally the last score of the game.

Before that score came Magheracloone had consolidated their lead with three more second half points without reply, one from Damien Freeman and the other two from his brother, the ubiquitous Tom. Magheracloone had a few hiccups at the back when a couple of slips saw two goal chances go a begging but Scotstown could not deliver the finish. Indeed finishing was a problem Scotstown had experienced all through. A number of point taking chances were muffed which could have brought them closer into contention. Though unlikely to have been game-turning, they were nonetheless critical misses. Magheracloone were also unlucky not to have rattled the net for a second time when a great chance by Tom Freeman struck the bottom of the upright and was cleared.

The Magheracloone defence for their part showed how formidable they were when Scotstown did muster some pressure moments which were absorbed and countered through strong showings from Padraig Kelly, Donal Kindlon, Bernard Freeman and James Ward.

Though this was Magheracloone’s day, Scotstown did have some impressive and hard working performances. Seamus Mullen and Gerard Corrigan did their best to hold the fort at the back while up front the pick of their attack were Colm Mc Elwain, Brian Mc Ginnity and Mark Duffy. Nicholas Corrigan, the man from whom much was expected, got little room to express himself and with his threat being diluted Scotstown were denied the potential impact that he is so capable of making.

The introduction of Damien F Mc Kenna and John Kerley was an effort to get things moving up front but it never realised the intentions. In the end Magheracloone ran out strong and decisive winners and thereby added their name for the first time to the senior championship roll of honour.

Magheracloone:

Shane Duffy, Donal Kindlon, Padraig Kelly, Michael Jones, John Mc Mahon, James Ward, Bernard Freeman, Francis Doogan, Francis Jones, Keith Gilsenan (0-1), Paul Jones, Tom Freeman (0-5), Paudie Finnegan (1-2), Damien Freeman (0-1), Fintan Kindlon (0-1). Subs used:  Gerard Finnegan, Gerard Mc Caul, Ciaran Mc Caul, Mark Gilsenan.

Scotstown:

Philip Maguire, Padraig Keenan, Seamus Mullen, Gerard Corrigan, Donal Morgan, Damien Mc Kenna, Ryan Daly, David Mc Cague, Keith Mc Gonnell (0-1), Colm Mc Elwain (0-2), Brian Mc Ginnity, Nicholas Corrigan, Shane Mc Carville (0-1), Declan Mc Carville, Mark Duffy. Subs used:  Damien F Mc Kenna (0-1), John Kerley.