Ulster and Munster served up a classic game of football on Sunday afternoon,as the Interpro’s series made one last bid for survival. The competition has come under threat in recent seasons but this game showed that it still has a place in the calender. The Northern side won the tie but Gaelic Football was the real winner.
The accuracy and marksmanship on display was of the highest quality and the romance of the old Railway Cup competition continues to live on. Clare man David Tubridy stood out in a star studded Munster line-up, while Ulster had a number of big name players such as Owen Mulligan, Mark Poland and Peter Harte.
Munster dominated around the middle of the park in the early stages and Ulster struggled to get a foothold. Ulster held a narrow advantage at half-time(1-7 to 0-9) but were soon struggling and found themselves behind. Tyrone man Peter Harte scored a crucial goal to bring his side right back into the game and suddenly they began to believe that they could go on and win. Danny Hughes scored two points and then Donegal defender Neil McGee added a late goal to seal the tie in his teams favour.
Ulster manager Joe Kernan was delighted with the win and also believes that the quality of football may have given the competition some bit of a lifeline.
“It’s not dead,” he said. “If this is dead, then the Sigerson has to be wiped too. There was nobody at it on Saturday.
“It is a great competition and the players love playing in it. It’s great for developing players.”
Kernan added that he felt the series was not being marketed properly and the other provinces were not as interested in it as Ulster: “I was listening to a lot of the radio stations down south yesterday and not one of them mentioned this game was on today, which was disappointing.”
Ger O’Sullivan,the Munster boss, said he believed the series should continue and pointed to the opportunity it gave to players from the so called weaker counties. Clare’s David Tubridy scored eight points, while Gary Brennan and Gary Hurney also showed they were worthy of selection.
“I’ve seen them first hand in Munster and they’re as good as any player in Munster, nationally, really. They’ll get on any team in Ireland”, O’Sullivan added.
Munster missed a number of chances and their manager was well aware that this weakness cost them dearly. For their part, Ulster were very accurate in front of the posts and it proved to be the difference in the finish. On the evidence of yesterday’s decider there is still some life left in this competition. It is now up to the powers that be within the GAA to decide where it’s future lies.
Scorers for Ulster: M Poland 1-1 (1f), O Mulligan 0-4 (1f), P Harte, N McGee 1-0, D Hughes 0-3 (2 45s), M Penrose 0-2 (1f), D Gordon 0-1.
Scorers for Munster: D Tubridy 0-8 (3fs, 1 45), P Kerrigan 0-3, K Lacey (og) 1-0, P Kelly, G Hurney (f) 0-2 each.
ULSTER: B McVeigh (Down); B Donaghy (Armagh), N McGee, K Lacey (both Donegal); J Loughrey (Antrim), D Hughes (Monaghan), C McKeever (Armagh); D Gordon (Down), R Kavanagh (Donegal); P Harte (Tyrone), M Poland (Down), M Penrose (Tyrone); C Gilligan (Derry), B Coulter (Down), O Mulligan (Tyrone).
Subs: Joe McMahon (Tyrone) for Gilligan (inj. 23), O Lennon (Monaghan) for Kavanagh (47), V Corey (Monaghan) for Loughrey (50).
MUNSTER: A Quirke (Cork); A O’Mahony (Kerry), J McCarthy, S Lavin (both Limerick); T Ó Se (Kerry), G Canty, P Kissane (both Cork); G Brennan (Clare), S Scanlon (Kerry); P Kelly, P Kerrigan (both Cork), J Cooke (Limerick); D Tubridy (Clare), G Hurney (Waterford), I Ryan (Limerick).
Subs: P O’Neill (Cork) for Cooke (44); R Donnelly (Clare) for Kelly (50); M Collins for Ryan (62).
Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo).