Burren bemoan penalty call as Scotstown have the edge
Burren 0-10 Scotstown 0-13
On marginal calls does a club hang their dreams of provincial club glory. One such example denied Burren a chance of what would have been an unlikely victory here after a stirring comeback that brought them from seven points down to within touching distance of an Ulster semi-final.
With one point in it and having dominated the final quarter after sleepwalking through the rest of the game, Burren had Scotstown pinned back into their own defence. They turned over the ball, Donal O'Hare gave it to the excellent and forceful sub Ryan Treanor and he was spilled onto the turf by a knot of Scotstown players.
Even some of the Scotstown players stopped, waiting for referee Sean Hurson to signify a penalty, but he waved play on.
"To me, it was absolutely blatant," said Burren manager Paddy O'Rourke afterwards.
"I don't want to be hard on a referee because they have a hard job but if it had have been outside the square it would have been a free in. But because it was in the box, he didn't make the call."
He added, "That's disappointing because I think if we would have scored that penalty I think we would have been really on top then and we might have gone on to win the game."
Had they, it would have been some turnaround as in many aspects of the game, Scotstown were completely on top.
They shot 13 wides in the first half, some of them inexplicable. They also had two goal chances that they spurned.
All this, and a point from play for newly-crowned All-Star goalkeeper Rory Beggan, who played a quick give and go with Frank Caulfield and lofted over to huge cheers in the Pairc Esler stands.
The half-time score had Scotstown 0-6 to 0-3 ahead and when they hit four consecutive points at the start of the second half it appeared they would win pulling up.
The introduction of Ryan Treanor meant they began to punch holes in their defensive lines. A black card for Kieran Hughes also robbed Scotstown of attacking threat while Burren compiled six consecutive points, most of them from Donal O'Hare placed balls.
Scotstown manager Kieran Donnelly was a relieved figure at the end. "When you come into Newry and Down and Burren is a proud club and that confidence they have, they really fancied us down here," he said.
"So we knew that and knew we had to have a big performance so it is all about winning and we are glad to be in the next round."
For all that, no manager could have an influence over the last five minutes when literally anything could happen, but the breaks fell in his favour. David McEntee's red card for striking deep in injury-time also hurt Burren.
"It is all down to the players at that stage and not taking the ball into contact and I think a few lads really demanded the ball and we got a couple of big scores," Donnelly added.
"The sending off threw them a wee bit because we could sit a man back in the pocket for the last few minutes. We needed our key players on the ball and they responded to that."
When composure was most needed, they had it in late points from Shane Carey who broke a 20-minute spell without a Scotstown score, and the final point six minutes into time added on after a long run from Donal Morgan.
"I know the team is good enough," rued O'Rourke.
"I know the players are good enough to play in this competition but maybe sometimes you have to play in it for a while to realise that as a player."
Marginal calls. It's a cruel game.
BURREN: C Murdock; A McAvoy, K McKernan, S Fegan; C McGovern, S McArdle, C Cox; C Toner, D Rooney; C Foy 0-2, P Poland, R McGrath; L Kerr, E Toner 0-1, D O'Hare 0-5f
Subs: C Burns for Murdoch, D McEntee for Cox (h-time), R Treanor 0-1f, for Poland (49), S Murdock 0-1, for McGrath (45), P Fegan for C Toner (62)
Yellow cards: Murdock (53), Treanor (58), McArdle (59)
Black cards: 0
Red cards: D McEntee (63)
SCOTSTOWN: R Beggan 0-2, 1f; B Boylan, R O'Toole, D McArdle; J McDevitt, D Morgan 0-1, E Caulfield; F Caulfied, K Hughes 0-2; F Maguire 0-2, C McCarthy 0-1f, J McCarey; S Carey 0-5, 2f, D Hughes, O Heaphey
Subs: R McKenna for Heaphey (h-time), D McCrudden for Maguire (56), M McCarville for Boylan (62)
Yellow cards: D Hughes (34), E Caulfield (47), Boylan (49), Carey (66)
Black cards: K Hughes (44 - replaced by P Sherlock)
Red cards: 0
Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).