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McMahon the hero as Magheracloone secure crown in style

Magheracloone 1-15 Galbally 0-13

Great stuff: Tommy Freeman was in fine form during Magheracloone’s Ulster title triumph over Galbally
Great stuff: Tommy Freeman was in fine form during Magheracloone’s Ulster title triumph over Galbally
Ronan Nugent
John Campbell

By John Campbell

From wandering nomads to high kings of Ulster.

Magheracloone's transformation could hardly be more dramatic as the south Monaghan club emerged from the most traumatic period in their history to carry off the provincial intermediate club football title in stunning fashion at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh.

Left homeless after a collapsed mine devastated their headquarters a year ago, James Kieran's side dug deep into a seemingly bottomless well of will power and effort to thunder into the All-Ireland semi-finals.

It was perhaps fitting that Kieran should have best encapsulated a riveting contest that was played on the front foot by both teams from start to finish.

"It was hard, fast and entertaining throughout - the way Gaelic football should be played with not a dirty stroke.

"Galbally are a serious footballing side and they really put it up to us," declared Kieran.

But while more than happy to embrace success, a string of first-half wides tended to undermine the winners' confidence although three points from the irrepressible Tommy Freeman and a brace from the lightning-fast Padraig McMahon helped to bolster their 0-8 to 0-6 interval advantage with Daniel Kerr, Seamus Og Mulgrew and Ronan Nugent epitomising the Tyrone side's resistance.

It was in the 49th minute of the tussle that Magheracloone put one hand firmly on the trophy when McMahon scorched in from the right wing before planting the ball past a helpless Liam Og MacAuley in the Galbally goal.

From then on, Magheracloone began to play with a swagger, McMahon and Allan Kieran nullifying a superb brace of points by Galbally substitute Michael Murphy and another from Seamus Og Mulgrew.

Disappointed Galbally manager John Moylan was philosophical at the finish.

"I think we have been on a great journey.

"We have played positive football at full tilt and I know that even neutrals have been impressed by what they have seen from us.

"My lads gave their all in this final as they did in every game," said Cork native Moylan.

Galbally: L Og MacAuley; A Carberry, K McCrory, S Hurson; L Rafferty 0-2, R Nugent 0-1, S Og Mulgrew 0-2; C Quinn, E McGarrity 0-1; M Donnelly, D Kerr 0-4 (4f), C Donnelly; S Murphy 0-1, C Donaghy, D Murphy. Subs: M Lennon for Hurson (37), M Murphy 0-2 for Donaghy (44), F McGarrity for M Donnelly (53), Conor Donnelly for Carberry (53), P Rafferty for S Murphy (60).

Magheracloone: D Kirk; M Jones, P Ward, P McArdle; C McKeown, J Ward 0-1, K Rudden; J Kieran, G Doogan 0-1; B Kieran 0-1, A Kieran 0-3, P McMahon 1-4; A McCahey, M Metzger, T Freeman 0-4. Subs: J Doogan for McKeown (30), R Farrelly 0-1 for McCahey (half-time), L Og Murray for Metzger (56), J Lambe for B Kieran (59), N Marren for Freeman (61).

Referee: K Faloon (Armagh).

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