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Goalkeeper Saves Four In First Provincial Final Decided On Penalties

History was made on Sunday as for the first time ever, a provincial final was decided via a penalty shootout. 

It came in the Ulster club intermediate hurling final between Antrim’s Naomh Éanna and Tyrone’s Eoghan Ruadh. When the two sides couldn’t be separated after extra time, deadlocked at 2-20 to 2-20, the game was ultimately decided by penalties.

In the end, only one penalty from nine was scored as Naomh Éanna were crowned champions, emulating their footballers’ provincial success of 2018, after winning the shootout on a scoreline of 1-0. Both goalkeepers proved to be on fire making seven saves between them in the shootout.

Martin Curran is the man who will go down in history after saving four Eoghan Ruadh including the final save to clinch victory. However, John Devlin deserves credit for his performance between the sticks as the Tyrone netminder made three outstanding saves in the shootout.

Naomh Éanna, of course, made headlines around Ireland last year as their football side went on an amazing run that led them to the All-Ireland intermediate football final. This year, the hurlers have already matched their football counterparts by taking home provincial glory and are now just one game away from an All-Ireland intermediate final themselves.

The newly crown Ulster champions are led by Antrim legend and GAA Hall of Fame recipient Sambo McNaughton who, despite hailing from Cushendall, has a strong bond with the club.

“Terence is an unassuming person, we like to keep him going about his All-Star and that but he actually has connections to the club through his wife Ursula whose family would have been a big family within the club back in the day,” Ciaran McCavana told Pundit Arena.

“When I was a kid we were a very poor club, Terence would have been up doing my prizegivings. He would have come and did our dinner dances, our prizegivings and stuff like that.

“So he always had a connection to the club. He had a soft spot for the club through his family but also a soft spot realising what we had suffered and he knew we were battling to keep the spirit of the GAA alive and at one time the flame nearly went out.”

Agree with this method of deciding championship matches? Check out the penalty shootout below.

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