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Ulster's hotshots are proving they know the score

By John Campbell

Ulster may have just one side still standing in the race for the Sam Maguire Cup but no fewer than four players from the province are included in the top 10 highest scorers in the football championship to date.

Leading the way is Monaghan hotshot Conor McManus, who has recorded a total of 1-27 with 1-7 coming from play.

McManus has been one of the most consistent forwards in the country this summer despite having only just returned to full fitness following a hip injury prior to the championship and then having incurred knee and ankle injuries.

He is closely followed in the scoring stakes by Armagh's Tony Kernan, who knocked up 0-25 before his team's involvement in the race for 'Sam' was halted by Donegal.

Kernan, who has only quite recently become an automatic first-choice player in the Orchard County colours, landed 0-7 from frees, 0-16 from play and 0-2 from '45s'.

His marksmanship had much to do with Armagh's surprising championship odyssey which took them to within a whisker of a semi-final place.

And while his finishing skills proved a huge boost to his county, his creative flair helped to underpin Armagh's attacking strategy.

And even though he only played in two championship matches, Fermanagh's Sean Quigley confirmed that he is generously imbued with scoring flair.

The Roslea clubman landed 1-6 in his team's Ulster Championship exit to Antrim and then turned on the style in the All-Ireland qualifier against Laois by recording 2-8 but even this mammoth effort could not prevent the curtain coming down on his team's championship season.

In rising to the challenge in both games, Quigley cemented his ability to plug the gap left by his brother Seamus who had been Fermanagh's scorer-in-chief up until he was banished from the panel by manager Peter McGrath.

Tyrone's Darren McCurry is the fourth player from the province to have shown a marked scoring touch during the championship.

He scored a total of 2-16 with 2-5 coming from play and 0-11 from frees – and this, too, in what was a truncated involvement for his county in the premier competition.

Tyrone lost their Ulster semi-final to Monaghan and then bowed out of the qualifiers to great rivals Armagh at Omagh.

Mayo's Cillian O'Connor, meanwhile, is in a strong position to finish overall top scorer as he has pocketed 2-23 to date and can of course enhance this total against Kerry today.

He scored 2-5 in Mayo's championship win over New York and since then has had a pronounced influence on the scoreboard in his county's games.

Rather surprisingly, no Kerry player is currently among the top 10 scorers.

Belfast Telegraph


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