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Ugly fracas mars St Joseph's glory

CONNACHT GAA chiefs are set to investigate a weekend flashpoint in which Mayo referee Kevin McGeeney was knocked to the ground during a provincial club JHC final in Ballyhaunis.

What should have been remembered as a memorable day for Sligo hurling and their new Connacht champions, Calry-St Joseph's, was instead marred by an ugly fracas at the end of Saturday's final.

Galway club Skehana could now find themselves in hot water after match reports implicated one of their players for appearing to strike the referee, who was left to pick himself off the ground.

Connacht Council secretary John Prenty said his committee would not be found wanting in the matter. He said they are expecting the referee's report tomorrow, while an investigation would be launched only after they study its contents.

On the field, it was an historic day for Calry-St Joseph's who prevailed by 1-12 to 1-11. Their star nam, Keith Raymond, reinforced his reputation as Sligo's finest hurler with a 1-9 tally, including a long-range winner in the dying seconds.

ANOTHER November, same old story as Crossmaglen go marching on in Ulster. The reigning All-Ireland club champions overwhelmed newly crowned Donegal masters, St Eunan's, by 3-11 to 1-7 at the Morgan Athletic Grounds - and afterwards winning boss Tony McEntee had some sage words for his counterpart.

Just a week earlier, Brendan Devenney lamented how his St Eunan's team had felt compelled to abandon footballing principles and embrace the massed defence ethos in order to make strides in Donegal.

Yesterday, though, Eunan's were ripped apart by a team intent on kicking the ball. "Brendan Devenney mentioned how this isn't the type of football that they wanted to play," McEntee noted, "and that they had to adjust to it because everyone else in Donegal played it and therein is the problem. People are happy to follow what the status quo is or the vast majority do.

"For us, we are not interested in what the vast majority of inter-county teams do or other clubs do. We have a system which we try to work to. Some days it works - a lot of days it works - and other days it doesn't, and for now we are interested in playing our style and nobody else's."

Crossmaglen's ten-point victory was embellished by goals from Kyle Carragher (five minutes), Aaron Kernan (46) and Paul Grant (injury-time). But there was one sour note when Eunan's joint-manager Eamon O'Boyle was left dazed after being pushed to the ground during a first half incident on the sideline.

PAUL GALVIN was shown a straight red card but his native Finuge still had enough in the tank to qualify for a Munster club IFC final yesterday. The Kerry outfit ran out 2-9 to 1-9 winners over Pallasgreen, who themselves finished with 13 men, and their reward is a final date with St Vincent's of Cork.

ST BRIGID'S remain firmly on course to record a Connacht club SFC hat-trick after blitzing a disappointing Salthill-Knocknacarra by 0-15 to 0-8 in Pearse Stadium. The Roscommon champions now face a final showdown with Mayo's Ballaghaderreen, who beat Sligo's Curry on a 1-15 to 1-7 scoreline.