Eoghan Ruadh (Tír Eoghain) 1-11
Erin’s Own Lavey (Doire) 0-08
Dungannon’s Eoghan Ruadh set up a novel Leadon Timberframe Ulster MHC Final with Loughgiel Shamrocks by defeating Derry kingpins Erin’s Own Lavey this evening at Dean McGlinchey Park, Ballinascreen.
After an even first half, a 1-01 salvo from full-forward Cain Ferguson saw the Tyrone champions seize the initiative in the opening minutes of the second and despite a brief Lavey resurgence, Eoghan Ruadh showed the composure to see the game home in the remaining minutes.
The prodigious Enda Downey, so influential as Erin’s Own sealed the Derry crown last week, was held superbly by Fionn Devlin, who held the full-forward scoreless from play and was a key factor in their victory.
Ferguson gave Dungannon the lead after just two minutes, firing over a placed ball before an Enda Downey free and Jamie Duggan point edged Lavey ahead in the 5th minute of play.
Both teams were attacking in waves and Eoghan Ruadh came again with neat scores from Cormac Hughes and Ferguson again nudging them in front, but Lavey hit a nine-minute spell in which they scored 0-03 without reply, Jamie Duggan, Jarlath Young and Ryan McGill all splitting the posts from play to open up a two-point gap on their opponents.
A brace of 65s from midfielder Michael Little levelled matters with six minutes until the break and although a Downey 65 put Lavey back on top, it was Little who again shot Dungannon all square before Owen Elliott’s half time whistle.
Cain Ferguson then struck a blow for Dungannon inside the opening minute of the second half, hammering home a goal before following up immediately with a point to stretch the Eoghan Ruadh lead to four.
Two more frees from the cultured hurl of Enda Downey got Lavey moving again and appeared to have settled them, but a determined Ruadh rearguard ensured that this was the last white flag Erin’s Own would raise.
Cormac Hughes, Matthew McCann and wing-back Sean-Paul McKeown etched their names onto the score-sheet to open a five-point gap and as the Derry champions tried in vain to find a way through to the Eoghan Ruadh goal they spurned a number of point-scoring opportunities.
Fergal Donaghy rounded off the evening’s scoring in the 21st minute and the Dungannon defence was resolute as they repelled the Lavey advance before Owen Elliott’s final whistle sparked delight among the Red Hand contingent.
Erin’s Own completed the Derry Minor Hurling and Football Double with their big-ballers defeating Glen on Saturday and may have found tonight’s game a little too soon for their tired legs.
Tyrone’s solitary success in this competition came in 2003 when Éire Óg lifted the title, but the county leads the roll of honour in the Shield with four to their name.
This Eoghan Ruadh side have tasted Shield success in three of the last four years – 2016, 2017 and 2019 – and are now one step away from claiming their first ever Ulster MHC crown.
In their path stand an impressive Loughgiel Shamrocks who defeated Ballygalget on Sunday. Despite their tradition, Loughgiel have never won the tournament.
There will be a new name on the Paddy Toner Cup on Sunday afternoon.
Eoghan Ruadh: Conrad McKeown, Jack Donnelly, Fionn Devlin, Brian Rush, Adam Toner, Conal Devlin, Sean-Paul McKeown (0-01), Michael Little (0-01f, 0-02 - 65), Conor Fitzgerald, Matthew McCann (0-01), Conor McGinty, Fergal Donaghy (0-01), Cormac Hughes (0-02), Cain Ferguson (1-02, 0-01f), Rory Weir.
Erin’s Own: Patrick Kelly, Eamon Duffin, Ryan Farrell, Darragh Young, Shea O’Neill, Patrick McAleese, Sean McMullan, Cormac Collins, Ryan McGill (0-01), Niall Duggan, Jamie Duggan (0-02), Joseph McGurk, Jarlath Young (0-01), Enda Downey (0-04f), Segdae Melaugh.
Subs: Oisín Madden for Jarlath Young 53’, Aidan Mullan for Joseph McGurk 57’.
Referee: Owen Elliott – All Saints’ GAC - Aontroim