Duffy proves late hero again to earn glory for Latton
Latton 1-6 Scotstown 0-8
Latton were crowned champions for the third time in six years and the fourth time in all when they held out for the narrowest of victories over Scotstown in what was a most disappointing, low-key and scrappy decider in Inniskeen yesterday.
Played in difficult conditions with a strong wind and rain that became increasingly heavy during the second-half, this was not a contest for the purist, with too many mistakes, turnovers and players simply taking the wrong option. Nevertheless, the closeness of the scores kept it interesting, with the maximum between the sides at any time being just two points.
Scotstown, who last won the senior football championship in 1993, looked to be in a position to drive on for victory when they led by two points midway through the second-half but a goal from a penalty, converted by Hugh McElroy, with 12 minutes of normal time remaining restored Latton to the lead as the game now built to a frenetic finish.
The sides were level on two further occasions in the closing minutes, Scotstown playing catch-up on both occasions, before Latton clinched victory with an Owen Duffy point two minutes into stoppage-time, replicating the dramatic winner that he scored in his side's semi-final victory over Ballybay.
Latton opened the scoring with just 20 seconds on the clock with a point from Bernard O'Brien, but missed chances were the order of the day from both sides before Scotstown equalised through Paul Grant after eight minutes.
Latton regained the lead in the 12th minute with a point from Hugh McElroy but Scotstown responded to hit two points in a row from Brian McGinnity and Shane Carey to lead by one entering the second quarter.
Latton drew level with six minutes of normal time remaining in the first half through Shane Coyle but it was Scotstown who were in front at the break with a point from a free by Kieran Hughes giving them that one-point advantage on a half-time score of 0-4 to 0-3.
Within two minutes of the resumption Latton were level with a point from a free by Hugh McElroy but Scotstown now began to take control and but for poor finishing they could have put real daylight between themselves and the opposition.
Carey restored Scotstown's lead a minute later, with Darren Hughes converting a free approaching the end of the third quarter to put them two in front and in a strong position to strike for victory.
That, however, all changed minutes later when Scotstown were penalised for a foot block on Shane Coyle and Hugh McElroy tucked away the spot kick to restore Latton's lead with 12 minutes of normal time remaining.
As conditions deteriorated, so too did the standard of play and a full six minutes elapsed before Scotstown equalised with a point from a '45' by Darren Hughes. Latton regained the lead with a point from a free by Shane Coyle with three minutes of normal time remaining and a draw looked the most likely outcome when Kieran Hughes hauled Scotstown level a minute into stoppage-time.
Neither side would have quibbled with a draw but Latton were not willing to accept that and Duffy dug out a winner two minutes into stoppage-time to clinch victory.
Scorers -- Latton: H McElroy 1-2, (1-0 pen, 0-1f), S Coyle 0-2 (1f), B O'Brien, O Duffy 0-1 each. Scotstown: K Hughes 0-3 (2f), S Carey 0-2, D Hughes (1 '45), P Grant, B McGinnity 0-1 each.
Latton -- S Farmer; P Fitzpatrick, E Lennon, O Coyle; D O'Brien, K Duffy, S Fitzpatrick; O Lennon, A Farmer; N Traynor, O Duffy, S Coyle; B O'Brien, S McElroy, H McElroy, Subs: P Shannon for N Traynor, K Hughes for P Fitzpatrick.
Scotstown -- R Beggan; M Duffy, D Morgan, E Beggan; F McPhillips, D Hughes, D McArdle; F Caulfield, J Turley; S Carey, D McCague, P Grant; C Caulfield, K Hughes, B McGinnity. Subs: N Corrigan for C Caulfield, S Sherry for P Grant, C Treanor for M Duffy.
Ref -- G Treanor (Truagh).