McCullough stunner eases Bessbrook into final
St Paul's, Bessbrook 2-12
St Macartan's, Monaghan 1-6
St Paul's, Bessbrook made history by qualifying for the final in their first year in the premier competition. They demolished the St Macartan's challenge at the Athletic Grounds with the help of goals from Conor Nugent and Caolan McCullough.
Skipper Ciaran O'Hanlon hit three exquisite points, with Eoghan Burns and midfielder Blaine Malone each claiming two as Bessbrook moved into a 0-7 to 0-0 lead. Conor Nugent then cut in from the left to rifle a low shot to the net in the 17th minute to put them 10 points ahead.
Fearghal McMahon led Monaghan's revival with 1-3, including a goal from a penalty, as his side trailed by 1-7 to 1-3 at the break. But there was no way back for St Macartan's after sub McCullough crashed home a brilliant 39th-minute goal.
They stretched the margin to 14 points with scores from Daniel Nugent and Malone, and despite a straight red card dismissal of defender Conor Boyle, they continued to hold sway to the finish.
scorers – St Paul's, Bessbrook: C McCullough 1-1 (1f), C O'Hanlon, B Malone 0-3 each, C Nugent 1-0, C Mackin, E Burns (1f) 0-2 each, D Nugent 0-1. St Macartan's, Monaghan: F McMahon 1-3 (1-0 pen, 1f), C McCarthy 0-2 (1f), T Hayes 0-1.
ST PAUL's, Bessbrook – S McDonnell; J Cosgrove, P Campbell, K Mallon; C Boyle, D Nugent, G McCabe; A McKay, B Malone; E Burns, F Burns, C Mackin; C Nugent, C O'Hanlon, C Toner. Subs: C McCullough for Toner, C McConville for Malone, M McNamee for E Burns, M McCabe for G McCabe, P Hughes for F Burns.
st macartan's, Monaghan – C Forde; S Treanor, C Carragher, C McElwain; K Loughran, L Smyth, M O'Dowd; N Rooney, J McAleer; D McAllister, M McCarville, A Curran; C McCarthy, F McMahon, T Hayes. Subs: M Fox for Carragher, R Sheehan for McAleer, R McGuinness for Rooney, G Brennan for McAllister
Ref – C Branagan (Down).