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Coulter's class helps Setanta edge past Na Magha for the glory

Setanta 2-17 Na Magha 3-11

By Chris McnNulty

Setanta won their first ever Ulster Junior Hurling title thanks to a high-octane win over Na Magha in Ballybofey yesterday.

The Donegal champions were toasting history, with Kevin Campbell and Declan Coulter accounting for 1-17 between them.

Na Magha came back from the dead twice, but Setanta kept their composure.

"We don't panic," manager Paul Campbell said.

"When we concede, we don't panic or rush the puck-out. That will get you over the line."

Setanta burst from the blocks, driven on by the classy Danny Cullen at centre-field, and raced 1-9 to 0-3 ahead by the 20th minute.

The Setanta goal came when Coulter fed Bernard Lafferty, who smashed past Daryl Connolly midway through the half.

However, Diarmuid Sheils fired home after Brendan Quigley hit an upright and Na Magha were within three (1-10 to 1-7) at the break.

Campbell's imperious fee-taking - he scored 11 in all - was a real feature as Setanta pulled away.

Alan Grant netted for Na Magha early in the second half to reduce the arrears.

But when Coulter - a former Nicky Rackard All-Star with Armagh - cut a swathe through the Derry hearts before blasting home a magnificent goal, Setanta could smell the title.

"He went for the throat and he bagged it to some tune," manager Campbell said of Coulter's goal.

Deaglan Foley's free made its way to the net, but Setanta weren't going to be denied.

Both sides finishes with 14 men as Paul Grant of Na Magha and Setanta defender James Callaghan were given their marching orders for their parts in a late scuffle.

For Setanta, it was the Holy Grail after Ulster JHC final defeats in 2007 and 2008.

Captain Kevin Campbell, a survivor from those teams, said: "It's great for this group of players to get over the line for an Ulster title.

"We've dreamed of this from when we've been pucking around with our mates as kids.

"It's days like this that you have to stand up to the plate.

"It wouldn't have mattered who was out there today, the pick of Ulster, Tipperary or the Irish Army - we were going down the road with the cup!

"There wasn't a hope in hell that we were losing today."

Setanta: G McGettigan; B Tourish, S McMenamin, M Callaghan; S Anderson, M Bonner, N Cleary; R Kee, D Cullen; B Lafferty (1-0), C Melaugh, M Kane; J McBride, D Coulter (1-6), K Campbell (0-11f). Sub: J Callaghan for McMenamin (55).

Na Magha: D Connolly; A McBrearty, J McQuillan, M Temple; N McCallion, A Grant (1-0), M McShane; B Glass, D Shiels (1-2); T Rankin, B Quigley, D Foley (1-7f); A O Donnell, R O'Donnell, B Douban (0-1). Subs: C McGowan (0-1) for Temple (31), F McAnaney for O'Donnell (31).

Referee: A Ferguson (Fermanagh).

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