History makers St Paul’s make final

March 4, 2013

St Paul’s Bessbrook 2-12 St Macartan’s Monaghan 1-6

Tosach maith leath na hoibre was the modus operandi deployed as St Paul’s once again created history, as they defeated St Macartan’s College, Monaghan by nine points, to reach the Danske Bank Ulster Colleges MacRory Cup Final in their first year in the ‘A’ competition.

The Bessbrook boys blitzed their opponents with an unanswered 1-7 in the first 21 minutes of their semi-final at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh. Right from the off St Paul’s were in the ascendency with Eoghan Burns converting a free in the first minute and was again on target with his second after team captain Caolan O’Hanlon had helped himself to a brace with another coming from Blaine Malone leaving it 5-0 after 10 minutes. Some ten minutes later that lead was doubled to 10 points with a neat piece of dribbling skills from Conor Nugent setting him up to fire to the net past a helpless Forde for the three pointer as Connaire Mackin and O’Hanlon supplied the two minor scores.

Seemingly down and out McCartan’s needed a lift and it came from star man Fearghal McMahon who calmly slotted home a penalty for his sides opening score. The same player tagged on 3 more points to leave the half-time score 1-7 to 1-3. The good start was washed away by the sluggish finish to the half. But the dressing room team talk from John Rafferty and Martin O’Rourke re-ignited their charges who once again came flying out of the traps at the start of the second half.

A 1-3 scoring spree restored the 10 point gap for the second time. Half–time substitute Caolan McCullough rattled in the second goal with points from Daniel Nugent, Blaine Malone and Connaire Mackin all but sealing their place in the March 18 final. To their credit the losers battled to the end as points from Conor McCarthy, McMahon and Tom Hayes ate into the lead but the goal injection, badly needed to really ignite their fight-back, never materialized.

The only blot on a terrific night for St Paul’s was the straight red card for Conor Boyle for an off the ball incident. Conor will now miss out on the March 18 final against St Patrick’s, Maghera. St Pat’s were 1-10 to 0-11 replay winners over St Colman’s, Newry . The MacRory finalists have already met this year in the league final. St Paul’s lifted the McCormack Cup on a 3-5 to 0-12 scoreline.

St Paul’s, Bessbrook –S McDonnell, J Cosgrove, P Campbell, K Mallon, C Boyle, D Nugent [0-1], G McCabe, A McKay, B Malone [0-3], E Burns [0-2], F Burns, C Mackin [0-2], C Nugent [1-0], C O’Hanlon [0-3], C Toner.

Subs –C McCullough [1-1] for Toner, P Hughes for F Burns, C McConville for Malone, M McNamee for E Burns, M McCabe for G McCabe

St Macartan’s, Monaghan – C Forde, S Treanor, C Carragher, C McElwain, K Loughran, C L Smyth, M O’Dowd, N Rooney, J McAleer, D McAlister, M McCarville, A Curran, C McCarthy [0-2], F McMahon [1-3], T Hayes [0-1].

Subs – M Fox for Carragher, R Sheehan for McAleer, R McGuinness for Rooney, C McAnenly for Curran, G Brennan for McAlister

Referee – C Branagan, Down.