Glen into All Ireland Club final after historic day in Croke Park

Glen 1-11 Maigh Cuilinn 0-12.If you want excitement in Gaelic football, the big tip at present is go and watch new All Ireland senior club finalists, Glen!

Glen will be running out at Croke Park in two weeks' time again! (Photo: George Sweeney.)
Glen will be running out at Croke Park in two weeks' time again! (Photo: George Sweeney.)

Glen 1-11 Maigh Cuilinn 0-12.

If you want excitement in Gaelic football the big tip at present is go and watch Glen.

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In front of over 10,000 spectators at Croke Park On Sunday they hit the highs and lows to see off a very good Maigh Cuilinn (Moycullen ) team that had, like Glen, reached this stage for the first time. Like their game against Kilcoo, the Maghera men started like a whirlwind with four points in nine minutes and left the very good Galway team chasing the game.

As manager Malachy O’Rourke said post match: “We did some things very well and others not well enough.”

He expressed his puzzlement at some of the refereeing decisions during the game and he was not the only one. Glen seemed to have to work harder for their frees. Seven of Maigh Cuilinn’s 12 points came from frees while Glen scored all but two points of their total from open play.

There were some outstanding displays for the Maghera men. Ryan Dougan excelled at full back in a very solid defence. Michael Warnock and Cathal Mulholland were not far behind. Emmett Bradley at midfield was the best player n the field. In attack Ethan Doherty and Danny Tallon were excellent.

All six of the Glen defenders played previously in attack and

that showed with defenders scoring 1-02 between them.

Next up is the All Ireland final against Kilmacud on Sunday, January 22nd and Glen look to have every chance of following previous Derry winners, Bellaghy, Ballinderry and Lavey while both Slaughtneil and Ballerin failed narrowly to take home the Andy Merrigan Cup in past years.

Tiarnan Flanagan’s goal at the start of the second half proved to be the difference and despite Dessie Conneely’s accuracy from placed balls the Galway men could not cut the gap.

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The first turnover in the second minute of the game fooled everyone that it would be a one sided contest. Maigh Cuilinn had possession for that long spell from the throw-in but could not muster a shot. Glen surged up the field and stayed there, landing four unanswered points in the next 10 minutes with Emmett Bradley, Ethan Doherty and

Danny Tallon on target.

As Emmett Bradley boomed over and Ethan Doherty floated over with ease, Maigh Cuilinn could not find their feet into the contest whatsoever. It did not help that Glen defender Ryan Dougan pulled off a stunning full length block to deny Conneely a goal chance

Conneely was lively and would soon provide the settler for his side with a free. A huge turn over from the resultant kick out suddenly saw the Derry Champions lead halved. Thanks to Ger Davoren, it got even better for Maigh Cuilinn.

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With the imposing figure on the wing, giving the outfit a direct platform into the game and all the while bypassing Glen’s influential Conor Glass at the same time. Davoren devoured the kick out and Maigh Cuilinn started to believe.

Peter Cooke hooked over a shot to reduce the margin to the minimum with Glen letting their frustrations show at some of the decisions as Malachy O’Rourke’s lieutenant Ryan Porter was dismissed by David Gough for voicing his opinion.

Even Hawkeye looked to have blinked when most people in the ground thought that an Emmett Bradley shot had gone over the bar but it showed ‘Nil’ leaving Bradley looking a bit puzzled.

Under the cosh, Doherty and Bradley combined again with two stunning points from distance. Doherty with seven on his back but playing on the half forward line was excellent throughout.

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Conneely had the final say on the entertaining first half to make it 0-6 to 0-4 in Glen’s favour.

Indeed, with the second half barely a minute old it would be Ethan Doherty that would have a huge impact on the semi final’s defining moment. A driving run and low shot that forced Maigh Cuilinn goalkeeper Andrew Power to make a point blank save. The rebound fell to wing-back Flanagan who instinctively squeezed it past keeper Power off the deck.

With the five point margin, Glen knew the template to soak up the pressure and hold on but in fairness to Maigh Cuilinn they did not relent.

Niall Walsh replied with a point straight away, Conneely took an exceptional mark as they sought to eat into the now four point margin.

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At the top of Galway manager Padraic Joyce’s wish list for the New Year is undoubtedly Peter Cooke. The towering former county man cut the gap to three points thanks to the pressure applied to Conlann Bradley kick outs collectively by him and his team-mates

Glen, however, were attuned to what they had to do. They had been in this scenario before and never seemed to panic in the entire second half. Quiet up until now, Glass seized his moment to clamber up the field to find the target after being set up by Emmett Bradley.

Every time the Derry side went up the field they had to be efficient and they were. Defenders Micheal Warnock and Cathal Mulholland typified this with two classy points to cancel out Conneely’s ever growing tally. The marksman would finish with eight in total.

Still, despite Gallagher pulling another back for Maigh Cuilinn, Glen were not going to be denied. Defiantly standing up to whatever was thrown at them, O’Rourke’s side held out in the exceptionally long five added minutes and danced with delight at David Gough’s final whistle. In the final seconds of the game Glen’s Danny Tallon got a black card which would normally be ten minutes in the ‘sin bin’ but seconds later the final whistle sounded!

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Glen: Conlann Bradley; Cathal Mulholland (0-1) Ryan Dougan, Conor Carville. Tiernan Flanagan(1-0), Michael Warnock (0-1); Eunan Mulholland, Conor Glass (0-1), Emmett Bradley (0-3, 1f); Ethan Doherty (0-02) Jack Doherty, Conor Convery; Conleth McGuckian, Danny Tallon (0-03, 2f), Alex Doherty. (Subs) Cahair McCabe for Convery (38), Stevie O’Hara for A Doherty (53).

Maigh Cuilinn: Andrew Power; Conor Corcoran, Eoghan Kelly, Neil Mulcahy; Michéal O’Reilly, David Wynne, Aidan Claffey, Tom Clarke, Paul Kelly; Ger Davoren, Niall Walsh (0-1), Peter Cooke (0-2); Seán Kelly; Owen Gallagher (0-1), Dessie Conneely (0-8, 7f, 1m). (Subs) Fionn McDonagh for Walsh (53), Conor Bohan for P Kelly (58), Daniel Cox for O’Reilly (59)

Referee: David Gough (Meath)