Magheracloone (Monaghan) 0-24 Mattock Rangers (Louth) 1-8
Magheracloone kicked 15 unanswered second-half points to slay Mattock Rangers and set up a Croke Park final date with Oughterard on Saturday week.
The short hop to Crossmaglen for the neighbouring Monaghan and Louth champions ensured a bumper crowd at St Oliver Plunkett Park, and for 35-odd minutes they were treated to a cracking contest.
The final scoreline was definitely harsh on Mattock, and scarcely seemed possible as the sides traded blows in an absorbing opening half.
Magheracloone started the brighter against the breeze, offering glimpses of what was to come later in the game. But their Louth counterparts soon settled, and with top marksmen Tommy Freeman and David Reid trading four points each, the sides adjourned level at 0-7 apiece.
With the wind at their backs after the break it was advantage Magheraclooone, but when Monaghan native Niall McKeown surged forward to net a fortuitous goal for Mattock it seemed to be game on. In truth though, it was soon game over as Magheracloone took a vice grip on the game.
With man-of-the-match Gavin Doogan in scintillating form the Monaghan kingpins turned on the style to cruise to an emphatic victory.
Scorers for Magheracloone: T Freeman 0-8 (4f), G Doogan 0-4, R Farrelly 0-3 (1 ‘45), B Kieran, A Kieran 0-2 each, P McMahon, C McKeown, A McCahey, P Tuite, J Doogan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Mattock Rangers: D Reid 0-5 (4f), N McKeown 1-0, S Hickey, B Corcoran, A O’Brien 0-1 each.
MATTOCK RANGERS: M Englishby; D Englishby, S Maguire, A Caraher; B Leacy, N McKeown, S Gilsenan; A Reid, D Bannon; T Donegan, R Lenaghan, S Hickey; B Corcoran, A O’Brien, D Reid.
Subs: R Kilbane for Gilsenan (39), C Fleming for Donegan (46), H Donnelly for Corcoran (47), B Quaile for D Englishby (56), O McKenna for O’Brien (60), C Hickey for Caraher (60).
MAGHERACLOONE: D Kirk; M Jones, P Ward, l McArdle; K Rudden, J Ward, J Doogan; J Kieran, G Doogan; B Kieran, A Kieran, P McMahon; R Farrelly, M Metzger, T Freeman.
Subs: C McKeown for Rudden (41), A McCahey for Metzger (44), L Óg Murray for Farrelly (53), N Marron for B Kieran (56), P Tuite (0-1) for Jones (57), C Freeman for J Ward (60+).
Ref: Seán Lonergan (Tipperary).