Watson hails Loughgiel's rise
Loughgiel (Antrim) 2-24 Keady (Armagh) 0-6
The scoreline tells its own story. Keady were out of their depth in this final and suffered a drubbing from the vastly more experienced Loughgiel, whose last provincial title was in 1989.
They went on to win the All-Ireland title that season, but it is difficult to assess their chances of a repeat after yesterday's one-sided action at Casement Park.
"Yes, the final result was one-sided but the first half was close," reflected All Star nominee Liam Watson. "After being so long in the doldrums, it is lovely to be Ulster champions again."
It was 0-10 to 0-5 at the break, Eddie McCloskey and Watson the main Loughgiel marksmen, and Paul Breen's free-taking keeping Keady in the game. Watson was policed by Keady's Ryan Comiskey but still escaped for some useful scores.
The second period was a constant stream of Loughgiel attacks and scores as they confined the opposition to just one point over the closing 30 minutes.
Points by Watson, Joey Scullion, Odhran McFadden and sub Declan Laverty stretched the winners' lead to 0-18 to 0-6 entering the last quarter and a two-minute blitz from Brendan McCarry completely bolted the door.
The corner-forward hit a goal and two points in that spell, while Damian Laverty rocketed home the second Loughgiel goal on 58 minutes as the Antrim champions now prepare for a crack at the Leinster champions in February's All-Ireland semi-final.
Scorers -- Loughgiel: E McCloskey 0-7, L Watson 0-6 (0-4f), B McCarry 1-3, D Laverty 1-1, J Scullion 0-3, Johnny Campbell 0-2 (0-1f), B McAuley, M McFadden 0-1 each. Keady: P Breen 0-4 (0-4f), G Enright, B McNaughton 0-1 each.
LOUGHGIEL -- D Quinn; P Gillan, N McGarry, B McAuley; C McKinley, Johnny Campbell, M Scullion; M McFadden, L McKillop; E McCloskey, James Campbell, O McFadden; B McCarry, J Scullion, L Watson. Subs: D Laverty for James Campbell (39), R McCloskey for McKillop (51), K McGarry for Watson (55), A McCloskey for McKinley (55), M McGarry for McCarry (58).
KEADY -- J Burke; F McMullen, C McShane, M McDermott; B McCormack, E McDonnell, R Comiskey; G Enright, B Breen; B McNaughton, C Mone, P McCormack; P Breen, J Corvan, R Digby. Subs: K McGreevy for Mone (41), D McDermott for Corvan (46), F Cullivan for McNaughton (51), L McKee for P Breen 58).
REF -- D Magee (Down).