Darren Hughes stars as Scotstown bridge 26-year Ulster final gap

Scotstown (Monaghan) 2-9 Trillick (Tyrone) 2-7: Darren Hughes fired Scotstown into their first Ulster Club SFC final since 1989 with a two-goal salvo at Brewster Park.

Darren Hughes stars as Scotstown bridge 26-year Ulster final gap

The Monaghan man hit the net in both halves to send the Farney champions on their way to a meeting with Crossmaglen in the decider on Sunday week.

But they had to work hard in difficult conditions to fend off the courageous challenge of a Trillick side that just won promotion to senior football at the end of last season.

“Darren had a super game, his two goals and his movement and positioning for the first goal was fantastic, a lovely wee knock-down into the corner of the net, it was class,” said Scotstown manager Mattie McGleenan.

Hughes’s second goal early in the second half was pure opportunism, netted after he reacted first to a ball which had come back off a post.

McGleenan added: “In weather conditions like we had today, there’s always a chance a ball might come off a post, might come out of somebody’s hands or spill in around that area – be in on top of it. And brilliantly for us, Darren was in the right place at the right time and took a super goal.”

Scotstown eased into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead by the end of the opening quarter, with Francis Caulfield and James Turley conquering challenging weather conditions to garner first and second phase possession around midfield, with Darren Hughes, Rory Beggan and Conor McCarthy finding the range.

But it was the Tyrone men who struck for a goal in the 17th minute, Mattie Donnelly’s defence-splitting pass sending wing back Daniel McDonnell in for a clinical finish.

Three minutes later, Scotstown had a goal back, Darren Hughes punching to the net at the far post from brother Kieran’s left wing cross.

Trillick’s response epitomised the spirit that carried them to a first county title in 29 years, and they hit back for Lee Brennan to bring them level from a free.

Scotstown led 1-5 to 1-4 at the break, but Monaghan star Hughes plundered 1-1 inside the opening five minutes of the second half, reacting sharply to bury his shot after a Conor McCarthy effort had come back off a post.

Once again, the Reds hit back, and Niall Gormley darted through a gap in the cover to goal.

While Scotstown operate without a sweeper, their workrate and covering is quite exceptional, and they had men with the mobility to cover the ground between defence and attack and frustrate the Tyrone side.

Orin Heaphy made it a three-point game, before Gormley narrowed to a single point, but Trillick failed to score in the final 20 minutes.

Scotstown went even longer without registering, until goalkeeper Beggan slotted a long-range free between the posts for a stoppage-time clincher.

Scorers for Scotstown:

D Hughes 2-2, S Carey (2f), R Beggan (2f), O Heaphey 0-2 each, C McCarthy 0-1.

Scorers for Trillick:

N Gormley 1-1, D McDonnell 1-0, E Gormley 0-2, L Brennan (f), D Gallagher, R Donnelly, N Donnelly 0-1 each.

SCOTSTOWN:

R Beggan, D McArdle, E Caulfield, B McGinnity, M Duffy, K Hughes, F McPhillips, F Caulfield, J Turley, O Heaphy, D Morgan, C McCarthy, S Carey, D Hughes, R McKenna.

Subs:

B Boylan for McGinnity (h-t), D McCague for McKenna (43), D McCrudden for Heaphy (61).

TRILLICK:

J Maguire, S O’Donnell, R Kelly, D Kelly, N Donnelly, R Brennan, D McDonnell, R Donnelly, E Gormley, M Donnelly, P O’Kane, S Kelly, N Gormley, L Brennan, D Gallagher.

Subs:

S Gormley for S Kelly (46), R Gray for Gallagher (58).

Referee:

C Branagan (Down).

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up