St. Joseph’s High School Crossmaglen make history

February 17, 2014

St. Joseph’s H.S., Crossmaglen senior boys have made their own piece of history as they have qualified for the Ulster College’s Nolan Cup Final at the first time of asking. In this their first season at U-18 level St Joseph’s are only 60 minutes away from an even more historic opportunity, to appear in an All-Ireland Colleges series.

Having come through the group stages with a small panel of 6th and 7th year boys, the addition of eight of the victorious Herald Cup winning team has brought this panel of players to a new level.  Their final opponents have yet to be decided as Lismore High, Lurgan have to play Lumen Christi College, Derry in the other semi-final on Monday week. No date has been officially sanctioned for the final but it could entail St Joseph’s final opponents having to play twice within that week.

The semi-final, played in inclement weather at the College Fields in Armagh, provided the south Armagh boys with their toughest encounter to date, as they faced up to defending champions St. Joseph’s, Donaghmore. The Tyrone school, featuring a number of Tyrone county minors, opened the scoring after a period of intense pressure where young 4th year goalkeeper Eoghan McDonnell made two point blank saves, to deny them two green flags. The Cross boys rose to the challenge and responded with two fine scores from the left foot of corner-forward Calum Kieran. Points from the excellent Conor Connolly and Herald Cup star forward Miceal McCabe extended the lead until Donaghmore broke downfield and recorded the only goal of the game, after fifteen minutes of play, to level the scores.

Two quick points in succession from the boot of young midfielder and Herald Cup captain Stephen Morris, followed by an excellent score from Johnny McKeever, extended the Cross lads’ lead. The Donaghmore contingent didn’t panic and after two swift attacks reduced the score to the minimum after twenty five minutes of play. Both sides exchanged points in the last five minutes of the first half with Crossmaglen holding a slender half-time lead 0-8 to1-4.

The second half began with a few missed opportunities from both sides before McCabe struck the opening score of the half with a fine free from distance. Donaghmore responded in their best spell of the game and levelled proceedings ten minutes into the second half. These were to prove their final scores when in the last twenty minutes the south Armagh boys dominated the play, kicking six unanswered points – two from McCabe, two from Kieran and one each from Stephen Morris and Johnny McKeever, to leave the final score: St. Joseph’s, Crossmaglen 0-16 St. Joseph’s, Donaghmore 1-7.

Scorers: Cross: Miceal McCabe 0-5, Calum Kieran 0-4, Conor Connolly 0-3; Johnny McKeever 0-2; Stephen Morris 0-2; Aaron Duffy 0-1.