Holders Aodh Ruadh comfortably retained the Brendan McHugh Memorial Cup after a good day's football at three venues on Saturday last. The holders defeated neighbours, Melvin Gaels, in the final. The annual tournament enjoyed the best of the weekend weather and the organisers were more than pleased with the fare on offer. Three venues were utilised with four teams in Ballyshannon, and the other six divided between Bundoran and Grange.
In Ballyshannon the home town defeated Cortown of Meath in the opening game by 2-7 to 0-4 but only after after coming from behind after a very shaky opening half. In the other semi-final, Belturbet proved much too strong for St. Margaret's of Dublin, winning by 4-10 to 1-1. In the semi-final of this group, Aodh Ruadh with the advance of the breeze built up big half-time lead of 1-7 to 0-1 and despite two excellent goals from Cavan senior player Jason Reilly in the second half, the Ballyshannon side prevailed by 1-9 to 2-2.
In Grange Melvin Gaels overcame Ballyfermot from Dublin by 1-7 to 0-4, while Grange defeated St. Columba's of Longford by 1-3 to 0-4. In the play-off, Melvin Gaels defeated Grange by 0-8 to 0-3. Melvin Gaels then when on to defeat Clonguish of Longford in the semi-final, Clonguish having accounted for Bundoran in the first round by 1-10 to 1-3. The Kinlough side had to come from behind in that semi-final, 1-5 to 0-6, in what was probably the best game of the tournament.
For the final, Aodh Ruadh had Brian Roper back from county training but it was midfielder John Muldoon who put them on their way to victory with a spectacular goal after eight minutes. At that stage Michael Tiffoney and Liam Gilmartin for Melvin Gaels and Brian Roper and Sylvester Maguire for Aodh Ruadh had shared four points. Either side of Muldoon's goal, Melvin Gaels lost James Phelan and Damien Foy through injury and further points from Val Murray (2) and Sylvester Maguire along with a goal from Brian Roper left the winners comfortably ahead by 2-5 to 0-2 at the interval.
The second half was played out to an inevitable conclusion with Brian Roper and Martin McGlynn points coming between a third goal from Michael Ward, while Kinlough's best player, Gareth Foley had a goal in the dying minutes to put a better look on the scoreboard.
Aodh Ruadh: Gary Walsh; Brendan Boyle, Martin Gallagher, Donagh Keon; Kerry Ryan, Martin McGlynn (0-1), Paul Roper; John Muldoon (1-0), Stephen Ward; Damien Conlon, Donal Buggy, Michael Ward (1-0), Brian Roper (1-2), Sylvester Maguire (0-2), Val Murray (0-3). Subs., Shane Ward for Conlon, David Hoey for Keon, Michael Lawless for P. Roper, Jack Travers for Murray, Anthony Boyle for Maguire.
Melvin Gaels: Aaron Phelan; Shane McConnell, James Phelan, Anthony Tiffoney; Michael Tiffoney (0-1), Gareth Foley (1-0), David Gillespie; Gareth Phelan, Pauric McGloin; Damien Foy, Fergus McGloin, Brendan Brennan; Seamus Gallagher, Liam Gilmartin (0-1), Peter McGloin. Subs., Gerry McGurran for J. Phelan (inj.), Shane Clancy for Foy (inj.), Sean Boyle. Referee: Liam Brown (Four Masters)
Afterwards the presentation took place at a Banquet in the Holyrood Hotel where the Brendan McHugh Memorial Cup was presented to Aodh Ruadh captain, Damien Conlon. The award for Player of the Tournament went to Gareth Foley of Melvin Gaels.
The organisers expressed their satisfaction with the tournament and expressed thanks to the Aodh Ruadh and Grange clubs for providing their grounds for games during the day.