The Ulster Senior League proved its credentials to win the FAI Interprovincial tournament in Sligo over the weekend.
The squad assembled by Donal O’Brien and Trevor Scanlon picked up seven points from their three matches.
Garbhan Friel of Cockhill Celtic scored the winning goal yesterday against the Munster Senior League to seal the title.
The Ulster Senior League didn’t concede one goal as they followed up a 0-0 draw with the Leinster Senior League on Friday with a 9-0 hammering of the Connacht FA on Saturday.
O’Brien and Scanlon knew a draw would be enough from yesterday’s fixture but Friel’s goal meant it was an even better way to finish the three-day competition.
“I’m delighted for the Ulster Senior League,” said joint-manager O’Brien. “It’s a massive achievement and it’s great for everyone associated with the Ulster FA.
“The lads who travelled to Sligo with us with like 19 professionals.
“We were happy enough with the 0-0 draw on Friday night against Leinster but felt we had the better chances. On Saturday against Connacht we made a great start and were 3-0 up after 12 minutes and then 4-0 up at half-time.
“We had a feeling that goal difference would be important so all credit to the lads, they didn’t take their foot of the gas and got the big win.
“We knew we had the chance in our own hands against Munster on Sunday but would never play for a draw. You never know what might’ve happened in the other game but we got the job done.”
Ulster Senior League 0
Leinster Senior League 0
The Ulster Senior League opened their competition with a scoreless draw with their Leinster Senior League counterparts on Friday night at Strandhill Celtic.
In a game when both teams had their chances to win, both left reasonably content with a point apiece. The Ulster Senior League shaded the first half, with opportunities from a header by Malachy McDermott of Cockhill Celtic and a volley just over from Seamus ‘Nanny’ Friel from Drumkeen United.
However, Leinster were possibly the side that pressed slightly more after the break and Ray Whelan of Bluebell United hit Gavin Cullen’s crossbar. Meanwhile, Munster opened their campaign with a 3-2 win over Connacht.
Ulster Senior League v Leinster: Gavin Cullen; Ryan Gildea, Oisin McColgan, Oisin McColgan, Johnny Havlin, Jonathan Minnock; David Shovlin, Seamus ‘Nanny’ Friel, Malachy McDermott, Gerry Gill; Darren
McElwaine, Garbhan Friel. Subs used: Conor Carlin, Shane McGinty, Jamie Bradley.
Connacht FA 0
Ulster Senior League 9
The Ulster Senior League put in a smashing performance on Saturday to hammer hosts Connacht on Saturday afternoon at Forthill.
Drumkeen United striker Conor Carlin played his part with a hat-trick, while David Shovlin bagged two, as did Oisin McMenamin.
O’Brien and Scanlon’s side made the perfect start when McMenamin of Letterkenny Rovers headed home a corner from Benny Bonner. The lead was doubled thanks to David Shovlin’s goal. And it was 4-0 at half-time thanks to a brace of Carlin.
With the points already in the bag and with goal difference possibly going to play a part in the final shake-up, the Ulster Senior League continued on the front foot. Carlin completed his treble, while Shovlin score his second to make it 6-0.
Shane McGinty of Finn Harps, who had come off the bench for Jamie Bradley at the interval, made it seven before goals from McMenamin and Derry City’s George Kelly completed the rout.
In Saturday’s other fixture, Leinster and Munster shared a 2-2 draw.
Ulster Senior League v Connacht: Seamus Houghton; Ryan Gildea, Oisin
McColgan, Johnny Havlin, Benny Bonner; Oisin McMenamin, Malachy
McDermott, Jamie Bradley, David Shovlin; Darren McElwaine, Conor
Carlin. Subs used: William O’Connor, Shane McGinty, George Kelly.
Ulster Senior League 1
Munster Senior League 0
A single goal from Garbhan Friel ensured the Ulster Senior League was victorious in a nip and tuck encounter with the Munster Senior League at Strand Celtic Community Park yesterday.
With both sides going into the final day with four points each - as did Leinster - it was Donal O’Brien and Trevor Scanlon’s team that had the advantage of knowing their 9-0 win over Connacht meant for a vastly superior goal difference.
Therefore, a draw was in all likelihood going to be enough, unless Leinster manufactured a landslide win over Connacht. However, Friel’s 20-yarder five minutes into the second half was enough for a 1-0 win.
Ulster Senior League v Munster Senior League: Gavin Cullen, Ryan Gildea, Benny Bonner, Oisin McColgan, Johnny Halvin, Malachy McDermott, Jimmy Bradley, Seamie Friel, Gerry Gill, Conor Carlin, Garbhan Friel. Subs used: Oisin McMenamin for Ryan Gildea, Shane McGinty for Garbhan Friel, Georgie Kelly for Conor Carlin, David Shovlin for Gerry Gill.
Ulster Senior League Panel: Gavin Cullen, Jimmy Bradley, Malachy McDermott, Gerry Gill, Garbhan Friel, Oisin McColgan,William McLaughlin,Johnny Halvin (all Cockhill Celtic), Benny Bonner, Conor Carlin, Seamie ‘Nanny’ Friel,David Shovlin, Ryan Gildea (all Drumkeen United), Darren McElwaine, Jonathan Minnock, Oisin McMenamin (all Letterkenny Rovers), Shane McGinty (Finn Harps), Seamus Houghton, Georgie Kelly(Derry City).
Ulster 0-0 Leinster
Munster 3-2 Connacht FA
Ulster 9-0 Connacht FA
Leinster 2-2 Munster
Ulster 1-0 Munster
Connacht FA 3-3 Leinster