Clonduff clinch crown as Ulster sides dominate

Clonduff (Down) 0-11 Longstone (Down) 0-8
CLONDUFF completed a magical club double at Glenalbyn on Saturday when winning the Kilmacud Crokes All-Ireland football Sevens title for the first time.

The success comes a week after their camogie arm claimed the Sevens crown at this venue.

An estimated attendance of 4,000 people watched the 37th running of the event which was dominated by Ulster with all eight quarter-finalists from the province.

Clonduff emerged from a tough group that included Cork giants Nemo Rangers, St Patrick’s from Louth and Roscommon’s Padraig Pearses. While they had a surprisingly easy victory over Nemo, they had only one point to spare over the Pearses. That set up a winner-takes-all clash with the Saints in the final group game which produced a thriller (3-13 to 2-14).

Having accounted for Clonoe (Tyrone) in the quarter-final by four points, Clonduff faced the challenge of a Crossmaglen outfit competing for the first time this decade, having had their bid for a 14th successive county title brought to an end.

Cross were no match for their Down rivals though. Goals from Eamonn O’Reilly and Conor Óg O’Hagan sent Clonduff on their way and though Jamie Clarke hit back for Cross, it couldn’t prevent them falling to a 12-points defeat.

Awaiting them in the final were a Longstone outfit that had won this tournament two years ago. They beat another Down team, Bryansford, in a cracking quarter-final before prevailing in yet another derby over Castlewellan, who beat champions St Gall’s.

Both sides were clearly feeling the effects of a long day in the final and as a result, the game did not have the same pace to it as had been evident in previous games and it was Clonduff’s ability to kick scores from distance that earned them the honours.

The winners led 0-4 to 0-3 at the interval, with player of the tournament Jason Brown, John Fegan, Eamonn O’Reilly and Finbarr McConville on target.

Longstone were well in contention at the break though, with Mark Poland, Ambrose Rogers and Ryan Kelly scoring points.

Mark Doran made a great save from Brown to keep his team in touch.

Longstone actually hit the front with a four fine second half points by Barry Doran.

Doran converted three frees and added one magnificent effort off the outside of his right boot that bounced on the crossbar.

Kelly had a great goal chance but blasted over from a tight angle and Clonduff made the most of the let-off to gradually pull clear, Brown, Fegan, McConville, Darren O’Hagan and Conor Óg O’Hagan getting the crucial scores.

Meanwhile Mayo island Achill were crowned Bord Gais Energy St Judes All-Ireland Cup football Sevens champions after a 2-8 to 2-6 final win over St MacCartans, Tyrone.

It was a trio of late points from Bord Gais Energy ‘Laoch an Lae’ David Cattigan which earned the islanders back-to-back titles.

Achill led by 2-2 to 0-4 at half-time, thanks to goals from Brian Gallagher and Cattigan. MacCartans staged a strong comeback on the restart, but nothing could stop the champions from retaining their crown.

Meanwhile, led by Cork star Ciaran Sheehan, Éire Óg, Ovens claimed the Bord Gais Shield title following a 4-13 to 3-10 extra-time win over the Arainn Islands.


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