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McNaughton looks to future after Munster dish out pain


Gripping: Aaron Shanagher tackles Ulster’s Paddy Burke

Gripping: Aaron Shanagher tackles Ulster’s Paddy Burke

©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Gripping: Aaron Shanagher tackles Ulster’s Paddy Burke

Before making the five-and-a-half hour trip home yesterday, Antrim legend and Ulster manager Terence 'Sambo' McNaughton reflected upon the ailing health of the inter-provincial series.

Ulster were crushed in the second period - outscored by 0-8 to 2-11 following an encouraging first half - but the much bigger concern was the frankly dismal attendance at Semple Stadium in Thurles.

Just over 100 people were present at the 'field of legends' - despite the high-calibre players on view.

Ulster played their part in the first half - with Antrim's Ciarán Clarke and Armagh's Conor Corvan prominent - before Munster took over.

Michael Breen struck a third-minute goal for Munster and they led by 1-10 to 0-7 at the break, before leading scorer and captain Seamus Callanan and Waterford's Stephen Bennett added second half goals.

McNaughton said: "If you asked the players, they feel there's life in it but obviously the crowd doesn't - and the fact that it's on before Christmas, counties are only going back and some of them not even back."

And Munster supremo Anthony Daly repeated his view that the hurling and football deciders should be taken abroad.

"It wouldn't have been too bad but the postponement messed it up a bit on us," he said.

"We had the weekend free and agreed with all the county managers that lads would be free."

"It's obviously not capturing the imagination of the public here, in the guise it's in.

"I believe there's a great opening to play the two finals - bring the Liam MacCarthy and the Sam Maguire to Ruislip - it wouldn't cost a fortune."

Scorers for Munster: S Callanan 1-7 (0-6f), M Breen 1-1, B Nash 0-4, Stephen Bennett 1-0, J O'Dwyer 0-2, D Byrnes, T Murnane, S Dowling, P Maher, D Reidy, Shane Bennett & D McCormack 0-1 each.

Scorers for Ulster: C Clarke 0-7 (6f), C Corvan 0-3, C O'Prey 0-2 (1f), D Cullen, N McKenna & C Woods 0-1 each.

Munster: A Nash (Cork); B Coughlan (Waterford), J Barry (Tipperary), N Connors (Waterford); D Byrnes (Limerick), C Dillon (Clare), S Fives (Waterford); M Breen (Tipperary), J Barron (Waterford); S Dowling (Limerick), Shane Bennett (Waterford), D McCormack (Tipperary); J O'Dwyer (Tipperary), S Callanan (Tipperary), D Reidy (Clare). Subs: A Shanagher (Clare) for Dowling (25), B Nash (Limerick) for Shane Bennett (25), Tom Murnane (Kerry) for Barron (h.t.), P Maher (Tipperary) for Fives (h.t.), Stephen Bennett (Waterford) for McCormack (h.t.), Dowling for O'Dwyer (45), Shane Bennett for Reidy (45), McCormack for Breen (51), Fives for Coughlan (55), Barron for Dillon (55).

Ulster: S Keith (Down); S McCrory (Antrim), P Burke (Antrim), J McManus (Down); N McAuley (Antrim), C Woods (Down), C Taggart (Down); E Campbell (Antrim), Ciarán Johnston (Antrim); C Corvan (Armagh), N McKenna (Antrim), D Toner (Down); Conor Johnston (Antrim), J Dillon (Antrim), C Clarke (Antrim). Subs: C O'Prey (Down) for Ciarán Johnston (26), D Cullen (Donegal) for Toner (33), J Corvan (Armagh) for Taggart (46), A Grant (Derry) for C Corvan (47), P Henry (Derry) for Conor Johnston (49), C O'Connell (Antrim) for Keith (52), C Devlin (Armagh) for Dillon (52), S Renaghan (Armagh) for Cullen (55), Ciarán Johnston for J McManus (56).

Belfast Telegraph