St Enda’s gave Antrim football a much-needed shot in the arm when they created history by landing their first Ulster title in style at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh on Saturday night.

They may have lived dangerously on occasions but the north Belfast side showed composure, grit and finishing power in the second half.

They held a rather tenuous 1-5 to 0-5 lead at the interval largely because of Kristian Healy’s subtly-taken 10th-minute goal and when Mullahoran reeled off three points in the opening five minutes of the second half, the provincial title seemed destined for Breffni territory.

But the marksmanship of Odhran Eastwood and Eoin Nagle in particular, the towering skills of Joe Maskey in midfield and the combined talents of the all-action Healy brothers, Peter and Kristian, helped St Enda’s forge a path to victory.

A brace of points from Nagle and Ruairi Scott triggered their surge down the home straight which was highlighted by their second goal from the imperious Maskey in the 51st minute.

Mullahoran landed a late consolation goal from an Enda O’Reilly penalty but by then no one was in any doubt that the Christmas celebrations had been given an extra injection of fervour in north Belfast.

“I always felt that there was a big performance in this St Enda’s and they certainly delivered it against what I reckon is a very good Mullahoran side. We will enjoy Christmas but we won’t take our eye off the All-Ireland ball,” said manager Frank Fitzsimons.

Scorers – St Enda’s: K Healy 1-1; O Eastwood 0-4 (3f); E Nagle 0-3; J Maskey 1-0; R Scott 0-2; C Lyttle 0-1. Mullahoran: E O’Reilly 1-6 (5f, 1-0 pen); C Mussi, Colm O’Reilly, P Galligan, S McKeogh 0-1 each.

St Enda’s: P Flood; K Jennings, M McNamee, D McNulty; C Lyttle, J McAuley, C McAuley; R Kennedy, J Maskey; P Healy, R Scott, K Healy; E Gibson, O Eastwood, E Nagle. Subs: C O’Neill for Kennedy (26), D Gault for Gibson (61).

Mullahoran – S Briody; C Mussi, T McGahern, Cian O’Reilly; P Brady, M Hynes, Colm O’Reilly; K Brady, P Galligan; R Lynch, E O’Reilly, S McKeogh; G Brady, P Brady, Cormac O’Reilly. Subs: S Shiels for Galligan (51), D Smith for Colm O’Reilly (54), B McArdle for McKeogh (55).

Ref – D Mullan (Derry)

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