Ulster Club SFC: Trillick power past 14-man Crossmaglen into Ulster semi-final

Trillick scored seven unanswered points in a dominant display as they defeated 14-man Crossmaglen 0-9 to 0-4 to move into the Ulster Club SFC semi-finals.

On a frustrating night for the six-time All-Ireland winners, Cross captain Jamie Clarke was sent off late on for an apparent strike on Sean O'Donnell.

Cross led 0-4 to 0-2 at half time but were held scoreless in the second half.

Ryan Gray, Richie Donnelly, Lee Brennan and James Garrity hit big points after the break for the Tyrone champions.

Trillick will play either Monaghan champions Scotstown or 2022 All-Ireland champions Kilcoo of Down in the last four in two weeks time.

Cross a shadow

Given the pedigree and tradition of Cross, and the form of Trillick who impressed on their way to a ninth Tyrone title, this was billed as a high quality encounter.

However the first half was a hard watch before Trillick totally overpowered a Cross team that is a shadow of its former self.

The Armagh champions hit nine wides and lacked cohesion with aimless balls kicked away and players displaying little sense of urgency. Apart from a class Jamie Clarke point in the first half, they had little to celebrate.

Although Cross set up defensively, Trillick got to grips with them in the second half and hit seven points in a row either side of the break, with five in the second half, to take control.

Daniel Donnelly, who shackled Errigal Ciaran's Darragh Canavan so well in the Tyrone county final, picked up a black card for a tussle with Thomas Og Duffy in the 15th minute but it didn't trouble Trillick.

While down to 14 players, they scored their first point of the game through James Garrity with 21 minutes on the clock.

With no options on, Richie Donnelly ambled forward and drilled over a brilliant long-range score to reduce Trillick's deficit to one point, at 0-3 to 0-2.

Referee Barry Cassidy red cards Crossmaglen captain Jamie Clarke in in the closing stages of the game at Healy Park
Crossmaglen captain Jamie Clarke was booked in the first half and then received a straight red card late on for an apparent off-the-ball strike on Trillick's Sean O'Donnell

Rian O'Neill scored the second of two first-half frees to give Cross a two-point interval lead that their general play just about deserved.

There was a sense both teams were playing within themselves and capable of better - and it was Trillick who upped the ante and took control in the third quarter.

Ciaran Daly kicked it all off with a long-range point and after a Lee Brennan free, James Garrity's snap shot put Trillick in front for the first time in the game in the 38th minute.

Instantly, Trillick seized their moment and with key Cross players not able to stamp their authority on the game, the Reds powered home with two points in a row from half-forward Ryan Gray.

Former Tyrone star Lee Brennan showed his class with a wonder point and Richie Donnelly continued his good vein of form with another boomer from distance to make it an incredible seven points in a row.

Clarke's straight red six minutes from time was just another low point on a night Crossmaglen will want to forget. The competition they once ruled with an iron fist now moves on without them.