Strong finish sees Ulster reclaim crown

Strong finish Ulster reclaims crown
17 December 2016; Killian Clarke of Ulster in action against Kevin Higgins of Connacht during the GAA Interprovincial Football Championship Final match between Connacht and Ulster at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada, Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Inter Provincial Football Final stormed by Ulster

Ulster: 2-16
Connacht: 3-10

Ulster stormed home to a three-point victory to reclaim their 2013 football inter-provincial title.

Pete McGrath’s team conceded three first-half goals which left them no easy feat to come back from a 3-6 to 1-10 deficit at halftime. The win gives them 32nd title, putting them at the top of the leaderboard for the most overall wins.

Leinster, who won the last competition in 2014 as last year’s renewal was cancelled, come in second with 28 wins, followed by Munster on 15 wins and Connacht on ten.

Strong finish Ulster reclaims crown
17 December 2016; Ulster captain Eoin Donnelly is presented with the Cup by Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Aogán Ó Fearghail at the end of the GAA Interprovincial Football Championship Final match between Connacht and Ulster at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada, Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim. . Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Tyrone’s Peter Harte was in particularly superb form as his free-taking accuracy was spot on throughout. And it was goals in each half from Aiden Breen and Charlie Vernon that ensured that Ciaran Murtagh’s first-half double, and Damien Comer’s three pointer in the first-half would not come back to bite them.

Connacht ran to two point lead within the opening three minutes, before Harte opened Ulster’s score tally. Cummins was close to scoring the game’s opening goal after six minutes, but Murtagh didn’t hesitate in taking his own chance two minutes later.

Whittled away

And just three minutes later a quickly taken free by Sligo’s Niall Murphy set Murtagh up for his second, and giving his side a 2-3 to 0-3 lead.

But Ulster managed to cut the deficit to just three points as Breen ran on to Vernon’s pass to put the ball beyond the reach of Mayo goalkeeper David Clarke. And that lead would be whittled away further still when Enda Lynn and Tomas Corrigan pointed just before the break, before Comer got a toe-poked goal on the cusp of half-time.

Slaughtneil and Derry footballer and hurler Chrissy McKaighue was brought on at half-time, but only lasted a 70 seconds on the pitch after receiving a black card for his tackle.

And it was Armargh’s Vernon that would give McGrath’s charges the lead for the first time as his brilliant solo effort put the scores at 2-12 to 3-8. He would stretch the advantage with a point within a minute of his goal and Ulster finished strongly with points from Harte, Breen and Lynn to seal the victory.

Strong finish Ulster reclaims crown
17 December 2016; Ulster captain Eoin Donnelly lifts the Cup after the GAA Interprovincial Football Championship Final match between Connacht and Ulster at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada, Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

ULSTER: N Morgan (Tyrone); M Jones (Fermanagh), K Clare (Cavan), D O’Hagan (Down); T McCann (Tyrone), C Moynagh (Cavan), A Breen (Fermanagh, 1-2); E Donnelly (Fermanagh), C Vernon (Armagh, 1-1); K Niblock (Antrim), P Harte (Tyrone, 0-5, 4f), E Lynn (Derry, 0-3); N Sludden (Tyrone), S Campbell (Armagh, 0-1), T Corrigan (Fermanagh, 0-4, 2f). SUBS USED: R Johnston (Down) for Niblock, C McKaigue (Derry) for Moynagh (h-t), B Rogers (Derry) for McKaigue, D McCusker (Fermanagh) for Clarke, M Donnelly (Tyrone) for Campbell, T Kernan (Armagh) for Vernon, N McKeever for E Lynn

CONNACHT: D Clarke (Mayo); K McDonnell (Sligo), J Duane (Galway), D Wynne (Galway); N Daly (Roscommon), G O’Donnell (Galway), J Heaney (Galway); E Smith (Roscommon, 0-1), K Higgins (Roscommon); F Cregg (Roscommon), D Cummins (Galway, 0-1), C Murtagh (2-3); N Murphy (Sligo), D Comer (Galway, 1-1), J Doherty (Mayo, 0-2, 2f). SUBS USED: P Conroy (Galway, 0-1) for Cummins, D Wrynn (Leitrim) for Higgins, G Bradshaw for Doherty, E Mulligan (Leitrim, 0-1 1f) for Conroy, J McManus (Roscommon) for McDonnell, D Murtagh (Roscommon) for Murphy, C O’Shea for Smith

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