Hughes the destroyer as Scotstown trump Trillick to reach final
Scotstown 2-9 Trillick 2-7 Ulster club SFC Semi-Final
Lethal front man Darren Hughes rocked Trillick with a 2-2 blast as Scotstown reached their first Ulster Club SFC final since 1989.
The Monaghan star hit the net once in each half to shake off Trillick's gutsy challenge at Brewster Park. The two committed sides served up admirable fare in difficult conditions.
"Darren had a super game today, his two goals and his movement and positioning for the first goal was absolutely fantastic, a lovely wee knock-down into the corner of the net, it was class," said Scotstown manager, Mattie McGleenan.
Trillick's failure to score in the final 20 minutes was as much down to heroic defending on the part of their opponents as to their own profligacy and inexperience.
Scotstown had eased into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead by the end of the first quarter, with Francis Caulfield and James Turley securing first and second-phase possession around midfield, and Darren Hughes, Rory Beggan and Conor McCarthy finding the range.
But it was the Tyrone men who struck for a goal in the 17th minute, Mattie Donnelly's defence-splitting pass sending wing-back Daniel McDonnell in for a clinical finish. Three minutes later, Scotstown had a goal back, Darren Hughes punching home from brother Kieran's left-wing cross.
Trillick's response epitomised the spirit that carried them to a first county title in 29 years, and they hit back for Lee Brennan to bring them level from a free.
Scotstown led by 1-5 to 1-4 at the break, but Darren Hughes plundered 1-1 inside the opening five minutes of the second half, reacting sharply to bury his shot after a Conor McCarthy effort had come back off a post.
Once again, the Reds hit back, and Niall Gormley darted through to rifle home a goal. Scotstown continued to frustrate the Trillick playmakers. Orin Heaphy made it a three-point game, before Gormley narrowed it to a single point, but Trillick failed to score in the final 20 minutes.
Scotstown went even longer without registering, until goalkeeper Beggan slotted a long-range free between the posts for a stoppage-time clincher.
Scorers - Scotstown: D Hughes 2-2, S Carey (2f), R Beggan (2f), O Heaphey 0-2 each, C McCarthy 0-1. Trillick: N Gormley 1-1, D McDonnell 1-0, E Gormley 0-2, L Brennan (f), D Gallagher, R Donnelly, N Donnelly 0-1 each.
Scotstown - R Beggan; D McArdle, E Caulfield, B McGinnity; M Duffy, K Hughes, F McPhillips; F Caulfield, J Turley; O Heaphy, D Morgan, C McCarthy; S Carey, D Hughes, R McKenna.
Subs: B Boylan for McGinnity (h-t), D McCague for McKenna (43), D McCrudden for Heaphey (61).
Trillick - J Maguire; S O'Donnell, R Kelly, D Kelly; N Donnelly, R Brennan, D McDonnell; R Donnelly, E Gormley; M Donnelly, P O'Kane, S Kelly; N Gormley, L Brennan, D Gallagher.
Subs: S Gormley for S Kelly (46), R Gray for Gallagher (58).
Ref - C Branagan (Down).