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Joe Kernan's Ulster fall short in bid to land Inter-pro hat-trick

By John Fallon

Ulster 1-7 Connacht 2-19: Ulster's reign as M Donnelly inter-pro champions was ended in emphatic fashion at Tuam Stadium by a Connacht side who had not won the competition since 1969.

Manager Joe Kernan had no complaints about the outcome after his side failed to build a significant lead when they had the wind behind them in the opening half.

Ulster managed just two points in the second-half as Connacht went on a scoring rampage with the wind, with 11 players finding the target for the home side as they ended their 45 year famine.

"We needed to build a bigger lead than that and were right up against it in the second-half, but fair play to Connacht, they deserved their success," said Ulster manager Joe Kernan.

He said that the GAA need to have another look at how to restore the competition to its previous high standing.

"The players and managers all want it, what's better than having the best players in each of the provinces playing with each other. We need to have another look at it," said the Armagh man.

Connacht led by 0-4 to 0-2 after 19 minutes before Conor McManus got a couple of points for Ulster and Sean Cavanagh also found the range.

Then Michael Murphy had a goal chance saved by Robbie Hennelly but Colm Cavanagh pounced. Hennelly, though, hit back with two points for Connacht from a 45 and a free to leave it 1-5 to 0-6 at the break.

His counterpart, Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan, pointed a free just after the restart.

Connacht never look back once Michael Conroy found the net after 38 minutes and they were well on their way to victory by the time Sligo's David Kelly fisted home their second goal six minutes from time.

Kernan said that it is important the competition continues and he believes that the new GAA President-elect Aogán Ó Fearghail will give it his full backing.

"We'll start again next year and hopefully we'll get back, we have a president in now, Aogán Ó Fearghail, an Ulster man who loves the competition and I hope the GAA give it its proper chance to succeed," he said.

Connacht: R Hennelly (Mayo) 0-3 (0-2f, '45); S McDermott (Roscommon), J Moore (Galway), K Higgins (Mayo) 0-2; G Bradshaw (Galway), N Daly (Roscommon) 0-1, K McLoughlin (Mayo) 0-2 (f); A O'Shea (Mayo) 0-1, J Gibbons (Mayo); S Armstrong (Galway) 0-3, E Mulligan (Leitrim) 0-1, C Cregg (Roscommon) 0-3; M Conroy (Mayo) 1-1, P Conroy (Galway) 0-1, D Kelly (Sligo) 1-1. Subs: T Flynn (Galway) for O'Shea (8m), O'Shea for Flynn (11m); D Cummins (Galway) for Kelly (47m), Kelly for Cummins (55m); M Brehony (Sligo) for Kelly (65m); E Concannon (Galway) for M Conroy (65m); G Reynolds (Leitrim) for Bradshaw (65m); N Ewing (Sligo) for McDermott (67m)

Yellow cards: 0

Black cards: 0

Red cards: 0

Ulster: N Morgan (Tyrone) 0-1 (f); E McGee (Donegal), N McGee (Donegal), C Clarke (Tyrone); S L McGoldrick (Derry), R McCluskey (Fermanagh), P Harte (Tyrone); S Cavanagh (Tyrone) 0-1 (f), E Donnelly (Fermanagh); C Mackey (Cavan), M Poland (Down) 0-1, C Cavanagh (Tyrone) 1-0; E Keating (Cavan), M Murphy (Donegal) 0-1 (f), C McManus (Monaghan) 0-3 (0-3f). Subs: K Hughes (Monaghan) for Keating (12m); M McHugh (Donegal) for MacKey (30m); C McKaigue (Derry) for McCluskey (Black) (44m); D Gibney (Cavan) for Donnelly (46m); K McKernan (Down) for Cavanagh (52m)

Yellow cards: S Cavanagh (43m), E McGee (61m)

Black cards: R McCluskey (44m)

Red cards: 0

Referee: Derek O'Mahoney (Tipperary)

Attendance: 600.

Belfast Telegraph


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