Kernan's Ulster set up final with Munster

Connacht 0-13 Ulster 3-16

Connacht 0-13 Ulster 3-16

Joe Kernan’s Ulster side showed their eagerness to retain their M Donnelly Inteprovincial Football Championship crown with a well-judged win over Connacht at Markievicz Park.

The reigning champions, who won the last title in 2009, were full value for today’s semi-final success with Dan Gordon and Rory Kavanagh’s midfield dominance a key factor.

Ulster looked decidedly sharper both on and off the ball during a lively opening in Sligo, with Peter Harte putting Mark Poland through for an 11th minute goal.

Connacht’s first three scores came from frees popped over by Conor Mortimer (0-2) and Nicky Joyce, but the northerners were in cruise control after Poland’s 23rd-minute goal.

The Down forward sent a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner of the net, giving Roscommon’s Geoffrey Claffey no chance.

Mortimer kept Connacht just about in touch at the break - trailing 2-10 to 0-5 - by moving his own tally to 0-4 (0-3f).

The assembled crowd, 500 at most, were left in no doubt as to Ulster’s firepower. Kernan’s men finished the first half with eight different scorers, including both midfielders and wing back James Loughrey from Antrim.

Connacht improved in the third quarter with Mortimer and Donie Shine stringing together some well-taken scores.

But once Harte (1-4) teed up his Tyrone colleague Martin Penrose for a crisply-finished goal in the 53rd minute, the game was over as a contest.

Mayo’s Mortimer completed a haul of 0-9 (0-8f) and Leitrim’s Wayne McKeon broke forward for an all too rare point from play for Connacht.

But Ulster, who meet Munster in next Sunday’s final, kept the scoreboard ticking over with Owen Mulligan’s second point and a third of the afternoon from late call-up Conleith Gilligan.

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