Belmullet prove too strong

April 7, 2014

Our Lady’s Secondary, Belmullet 5-10 St Joseph’s, Crossmaglen 2-5

Our Lady’s Secondary, Belmullet proved too strong for St Joseph’s, Crossmaglen in the replay of the Br Edmund Ignatius Rice Cup final played at Ballyshannon. Replays are all about learning from the drawn encounter and in this respect the Mayo side held all the aces in that they took their scores when they presented themselves this time round and also had aces in the hold in being able to produce 2 Mayo minors James Kelly and Niall Walsh who contributed 0-5 to the scoreboard as well. The final scoreline does no justice to the losers as the winners can thank their goalkeeper Aaron Healey for making it a much closer affair with crucial top class saves at pivotal times during the course of the game.

Like the drawn encounter Cross were very slow out of the blocks and were left chasing the game once Evan Conmey goaled in the tenth minute to help his team lead 1-3 to no score.

Tommy Conroy wasted a lot of ball in the drawn final, but on Saturday he gained a lot less possession, yet scored 2-2, his goal, a couple of minutes before half-time, a real hammer-blow for the south Armagh boys. And at the other end of the pitch goalie Aaron Healy brought off a number of stunning saves. Eoghan McDonnell relieved from the outset of goalkeeping duties pointed for St Joseph’s and the lively forward was denied a goal following a super save from Healy with Aaron Duffy volleying the rebound to the net. After a scoreless opening quarter Cross were back in the game. But the danger man, flagged from the last day, Tommy Conroy stamped his class on proceedings with a terrific individual goal to immediately cancel the impact of the Duffy goal. It was double scores 2-4 to 1-2 five minutes from the short whistle, a period when the game really swung away from Cross.St Joseph’s were doing all the pressing but failed to convert a quartet of chances into scores and Conroy exacted sweet revenge by netting his second goal followed by a Peter Cafferkey point which left it 3-5 to 1-2 at the break.

Needing a fast start to the second half Cross never featured as Kelly fired over 4 unanswered points. When Cafferkey netted a fourth goal the Cup was heading West. Credit to the losers who fought on gamely and Miceal McCabe bagged 1-2 with midfielder Stephen Morris adding his second point to the cause. Our Lady’s produced 7 different scorers on the day to four from Cross. It was the returned experienced duo, who added the composure and cohesion that they lacked in the drawn encounter, that enabled Belmullet wrest the crown from their younger opponents who lost nothing in defeat following a superb adventure at the first time of asking. Defeat might have been their lot but everyone associated with the team can feel justifiably proud of putting the school on the All-Ireland trail and threading a path for others to follow in years to come.