McCabe is St Joseph’s Herald Hero

November 18, 2013

St Joseph’s, Crossmaglen 0-13 St Louis, Ballymena 2-6

Mícheal McCabe emerged as the individual hero in what was a heroic team performance from St Joseph’s, Crossmaglen as they wrestled the Danske Bank Herald Cup from the grasp of St Louis, Ballymena in the third minute of added time, courtesy of a 30 metre converted free  from McCabe to clinch a thrilling 0-13 to 2-6 victory at the splendid QUB Arena.

The late drama was a fitting finale to a game that ebbed and flowed one way, then the other, and deadlock the likely outcome between two very evenly matched teams. Three points down and a man down with 12 minutes left on the clock it looked as if the two first half goals for the Ballymena Boys were to take their toll. But in the face of adversity last year’s beaten finalists were determined not to face the same heartbreak and rattled off 5 unanswered points in a 10 minute spell to look home and hosed. Eamon Fyfe and substitute Conor McAuley responded to the brace of lead points for St Joseph’s from the boot of John Rafferty to go 0-12 to 2-4 to level, opening up the prospects of extra-time until the games top scorer McCabe (0-6) majestically sent the pressure kick sailing between the uprights, to take the cup back to Crossmaglen for the second time.

The final moments of high drama did not look on when Luke Owens opened the scoring and a couple of points from Man of the Match McCabe had Joseph’s three to the good but were soon rocked on their heels as a Fyfe point was followed by an Eoin Campbell goal and Ballymena were in the lead. The sides were level 0-5 to 1-2, with 5 minutes to the short whistle when Ballymena raised their second green flag as Michael O’Connell drilled his penalty for a foul on Ronan Graham past St Joe’s keeper Rory O’Connor. A third McCabe free of the half concluded the scoring with St Louis ahead 2-2 to 0-6 at the break.

Like the opening half it was St Joseph’s who opened the scoring through Stephen Keenan to cut the deficit to the minimum but 2 points from the losers top performer Fyfe put them three in front. The sending off looked to have tilted things more in favour of the leaders but with midfielder Eoghan MccDonnell and the other two forwards Johnny McKeever and Rafferty notching two points each for a return of 0-12 from 5 forwards St Joseph’s thrilled their large following with remarkable recovery which became even more spectacular as the remainder of the game evolved into its dramatic conclusion.

St Joseph’s : . Rory O’Connor, Ryan McKeever, Fearghal Burns, Aaron Smylie, Donal Mulholland, Fearghal Mackin, Dermot Savage, Eoghan McDonnell (0-1), Stephen Morris capt, Luke Owens (0-1), Johnny McKeever (0-2), Stephen Keenan (0-1), Oisin Martin, Micheal McCabe (0-6), John Rafferty (0-2) Subs : Paudi Conlon, Conor McCombe, Tony Canning, Adam Murphy, Mark Rowland, Patrick Hughes, Liam McArdle, David Garvey.

St. Louis ;Owen Marquess, Paddy Graffin, Sean Duffin, Malachy McIvor, Ciaran McAteer, Josh Henry, Fergal Kennedy, Michael O’Connell(1-1), Connell Lemon, Ronan Graham, Eoin Campbell (1-0), Eamon Fyfe (0-4), Colum Griffin, Ciaran Dobbin.Subs: Conor McAuley 0-1) Ciaran Neeson, Jack Hampton, Francis Cochrane, Brendan McDonnell, Paul McAleese, Michael Hagan, Matthew McCaw, Conal Cunning, Keelan Molloy, Michael Laverty.