Friday, December 1, 2023


BOTH Kilcoo and Liatroim’s Ulster club campaigns continue this weekend as they are part of a double header in Páirc Esler in the Senior and Intermediate competitions, both against Monaghan opponents.

Kilcoo’s comfortable win over Derrygonnelly earned them a place in the last eight against Monaghan champions Scotstown (Sunday, Páirc Esler, 3.30pm). Liatroim’s prize for beating Fermanagh champions Teemore on Sunday past is a clash with Monaghan’s Killanny (Sunday, Páirc Esler, 1.30pm). Kilcoo have played against Monaghan opposition four times in Ulster since 2009, winning three times and losing once. They have played this weekend’s opponents just once in Ulster, in the 2016 preliminary round and won 1-8 to 0-9 at St Tiernach’s Park.

On that occasion it was Kilcoo’s organisation and clinical shooting that helped them to progress. Scotstown hit 13 wides on the day. The game was close throughout and there was never more than three points between the two teams. But it was Ryan Johnston’s goal that was the crucial score. Kilcoo would go on to reach the final but lost to Slaughtneil. The other two occasions that Kilcoo beat Monaghan opponents were last year and in 2012, both times against Ballybay. Last year they won the quarter-final by 2-14 to 1-7.

Kilcoo’s one defeat to Monaghan opponents was in 2014 when they lost to Clontibret in the preliminary. It was a result very much against the run of play as Kilcoo had been the better team for the most part and it was a Dessie Mone goal late in the match that sealed the win for the Monaghan champions who had been reduced to 14 men. Kilcoo had had two men sent off in the last five minutes (Niall Branagan and Niall McEvoy) by referee Noel Mooney. They had scored four points in a row before Mone goalled to win the game 1-9 to 0-11. This weekend, Kilcoo are up against opponents who have enjoyed a similar dominance at club level. Since 2013 Scotstown have won the county title eight times in 11 seasons. But it is an Ulster title that Scotstown crave.

They have won four provincial titles in their lifetime, but the last one was in 1989. They have reached the final twice in their last 11 years of winning county championships. Scotstown reached the Ulster final in 2015 and lost to Crossmaglen who had beaten Kilcoo in the semi-final. Scotstown defeated Burren in 2018 on their way to the Ulster final, but lost to Gaoth Dobhair in the final. In the Intermediate Championship, Liatroim progressed past Teemore in the preliminary round of Ulster and are straight back into action in a competition in which they hold a significant piece of history. Back in 1998 Liatroim beat Cullaville in the first running of the Intermediate Championship.

This is their first return to the competition since then. Their next opponents are Killanny, who won their first Monaghan Intermediate title this year. They were beaten finalists in last year’s Monaghan Junior final, which suggests they are a team on the rise. In the Ulster Junior Football Championship, Down representatives Drumaness exited the competition after losing to Tyrone champions Fintona by 0-11 to 0-7 on Sunday in Omagh.

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