They’ll talk about their famine no more: James Carlin struck FOUR goals and Red Hughs, after 37 years of waiting, have their hands on the Dr McCloskey Cup.
Red Hughs 4-9 Urris 0-5
by Chris McNulty at O’Donnell Park
Carlin netted twice in each half to end their agonising wait.
Since 1981, they yearned for a moment like this and Carlin’s quadruple will have the bonfires blazing around Monellan this evening.
Carlin was the hero on the scoreboard and in Donegal player Stephen McMenamin they had a natural born leader with Gerard Melaugh playing the captain’s role as Red Hughs led from start to finish.
Stung by 37 years without a slice of Championship glory – although the intervening years had seen them reach two senior finals in 1986 and 1991 – and with the memories fresh of their missed chances in 2003, 2015 and 2017, Seosamh Mac Ceallabhuí’s men weren’t going to leave this one behind them.
They led by 11 points at the midway point. They were well on their way by that stage and the calls for supporters to remain off the pitch seemed ambitious from a long way out.
For the veterans like captain Melaugh (33), full-back Sean Sweeney (39), goalkeeper Ciaran Kelly (38) and forward Damien Browne (34) – not to mention subs like 43-year-old PJ Gallagher and 37-year-old Eugene Browne – this was an hour that will live long in the memory; an hour they perhaps thought had eluded them.
The opening goal lit the touch paper – and opened the floodgates – for Red Hughs. Damien Browne won the ball back in his own rearguard and sent McMenamin galloping into the trenches. McMenamin surged through the middle and unselfishly offloaded for Carlin to palm past Urris ‘keeper Paddy Harkin.
Last weekend in a semi-final against Letterkenny Gaels, Carlin was also the goalscorer in a 1-11 to 1-10 win.
When Carlin batted home, there were nine points in it and little signs of a pulse from Urris.
Ryan Doherty R landed a free for their second point and their first in 17 minutes.
The Inishowen men had justifiable claims for a penalty in the 26th minute when Dean Kelly was hauled down, but referee Robbie O’Donnell awarded a free that was converted by Conor Bradley.
Calvin Bradley, Gerard Melaugh and Browne had Red Hughs three up after just four minutes.
The same trio were on the mark and it was 0-7 to 0-1 by the 20th minute.
Late in the half, Carlin climbed above Harkin again to finish to the net form Melaugh’s ball into the mixer and give his men a healthy, unassailable, 2-8 to 0-3 lead.
Carlin was denied a hat-trick five minutes into the second half thanks to a fine save by Harkin, who turned away the forward’s goal-bound effort at the last second.
Soon, though, Carlin had his treble.
McMenamin, again, made the telling incision as he drove at the Urris arteries with purpose. It was Cathal Doherty who gave the final pass and, while Carlin still had to finish the move, he tucked home.
It got even better for Carlin and Red Hughs when he steered in from Bradley’s ball across the ground.
Red Hughs: Ciaran Kelly; Cathal Doherty, Sean Sweeney, Ryan Kelly; Gary Kelly, Gerard Melaugh (0-2), Thomas McMenamin; Peadar McGlinchey (0-1, 1 ’45), Stephen McMenamin; Damien Browne (0-4, 3f), Pauric McMenamin, Shane McGlinchey; James Carlin (4-0), Shane Gallagher, Calvin Bradley (0-2). Subs: Jonny Carlin for P.McMenamin (50), Odhrán Doherty for James Carlin (56), Michael Devine for S.McGlinchey (56), Eugene Browne for Sweeney (58), PJ Gallagher for Bradley (60).
Urris: Paddy Harkin; James Griffin, Kieran Kelly, Michael Grant (0-1); Brendan Doherty, Andy Doherty, Gary Doherty; John McCarron, Paddy Doherty; Ryan Doherty J, Alan Friel, Conor Bradley (0-2f); Ryan Doherty R (0-1f), Dean Kelly, Mark McLaughlin. Subs: Oisin Hession for R.Doherty (half-time), Peter Devlin (0-1) for G.Doherty (half-time), Charlie Doherty for R.Doherty R (40), Luke Devlin for B.Doherty (43), Johnny McDaid for McCarron (50), Brian Doherty for Friel (54).
Referee: Robbie O’Donnell (Naomh Muire).Tags: