MacRory Cup

February 27, 2017

Colman’s await final opponents

St Colman’s, Newry qualified for their 27th MacRory Cup final but will have to wait until this week to find out their opponents as the other semi-final between St Paul’s , Bessbrook and St Mary’s , Magherafelt ended in a 1-12 apiece draw.

MacCormack Cup winners St Ronan’s, Lurgan provided the opposition on Thursday night at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh but they had no answer to Rian O’Neill who knocked over 7 points in a Man of the Match performance as Colman’s ran out 0-14 to 0-8 winners

The opening ten minutes ended with the sides finishing level on 3 points each gave no indication that Coleman’s would advance to their first final since 2011 with such ease as the Ronan’s challenge evaporated as they only scored one point for the remainder of the half, had goalkeeper Eoghan Mulholland black carded and trailed 9-4 at the short whistle. O’Neill opened the scoring after only thirty five seconds from a free but St Ronan’s levelled matters in the fourth minute with a superb effort from play from wing half-back Adam Loughran. O’Neill pointed from play before setting up a score for Jack McCartan but St Ronan’s hit back, to level, as Tiernan Kelly and Kevin McAlinden lofted over points. Colman’s corner-forward Aaron Gribben pointed from play and that score was quickly followed by a long range O’Neill free. O’Neill converted the free following the Black card on the goalkeeper but St Ronan’s midfielder Conor Turbitt then ended their barren spell with their last score of the half. The lively Cian McConville got in behind the Lurgan defence but he blasted over the bar when a goal was on the cards as O’Neill ended the half with another brace of points to give the Armagh Road school a 5 point interval cushion.

Aodhan McConville opened the second half scoring for St Ronan’s from a close in free but that failed to trigger a comeback as their forward division could make no inroads on a resulute and hard tackling Colman’s defence, that never gave them a clear sight at goal, for the major score they badly needed to really ignite their challenge. Cian McConville and Aaron Gribben weighed in with a couple of points to stretch the lead to 6 before a straight red card for corner-forward Kevin McAlinden made St Ronan’s hopes of a comeback that more difficult. O’Neill added his only score of the second half before McConville teed up midfielder Conor O’Neill to open his account as the game petered out as a contest. St Ronan’s mounted a mini rally late on initiated by full-back James McAlinden who joined the attack to register a point and Kelly added two late frees but it was St Colman’s night as substitute Eoghan Byrne registered their last score. For a 0-14 to 0-8 convincing win.

St Colman’s Newry: M Magill, L Brown, S McCarthy, C Killen, F McElroy, M Branniff, P Fegan, C O’Neill (0-1), R Garvey, J McCartan (0-1), R O’Neill (0-7, 5f), E McDonnell, M McCreesh, C McConville (0-2, 1f), A Gribben (0-2).

Subs: E Byrne (0-1) for McCreesh, C McCartan for Gribben, J McKee for Brown

St Ronan’s, Lurgan: E Mulholland, J Haddock, J McAlinden (0-1), A Mulholland, R McConville, S McAlinden, A Loughran (0-1), B McCambridge, C Turbitt (0-1), R Meehan, T Kelly (0-3, 2f), J Haughey, K McAlinden (0-1), J Lenehan, A McConville (0-1, 1f).

Subs: E McConville for Mulholland (black card), O Smyth for R McConville, L Monteiro for Haughey, O Magill for Meehan, O Magee for A McConville.

Referee: S Hurson, Tyrone

Drama at the Dub

One could hardly have scripted the drama that unfolded in the last 10 minutes of an absorbing contest between St Paul’s, Bessbrook and St Mary’s, Magherafelt in their MacRory Cup semi-final. Ahead by 5 points inside those last 10 minutes St Mary’s looked set for the final but a Dean Hanrahan goal sparked a comeback of high drama that forced a replay next Wednesday night at the Athletic Grounds.

Hanrahan’s goal had cut the deficit to just two points and two minutes from time Bessbrook had an opportunity to take the lead when Ryan Hughes was fouled for a penalty but St Mary’s keeper Odhran Lynch produced a superb save to deny Liam Kerr although the latter pointed from the rebound. St Paul’s Bessbrook full-forward Shea Loye lofted over the equalizing point but Mary’s hit back immediately for what looked like the winning score from Kevin Small . Some three minutes into injury time with what proved to be the last kick of the game Mullaghbawn native Loye was coolness personified as he disected the uprights with an outstanding pressure free from out on the left wing to force a replay.

St Paul’s were faster out of the blocks with Ryan Hughes opening the scoring after only 20 seconds with Loye doubling the lead following an interchange with Kerr.  Half back Declan Cassidy opened Magherafelt’s account in the 4th minute but points from Kerr and Loye opened up a 0-4 to 0-1 lead . The score of the game from an almost impossible angle out on the right wing from Adam Connolly kept St Mary’s in touch. Ronan McGuinness and Daniel Bradley exchanged points before Loye kicked his third point of the half. Kerr converted another free and St Paul’s were four to the good with a dozen minutes to the break.St Mary’s then hit a purple patch with Small pointing twice before he squared the ball for Liam Quinn to punch to the net to level matters. A Daniel Bradley free coupled with a fine effort from play from Simon McErlean left St Mary’s the happier of the two sides at the short whistle as they led 1-7 to 0-8.

A slower start to the second half left scores scarce but after rounding goalkeeper Ryan Daly the angle was too tight for Small to guide the ball into the Bessbrook net. It took 12 minutes for the opening score to arrive via Loye but once again it was the Magherafelt boys who went on to dominate play, hitting 4 unanswered points through Connolly from play and 3 converted frees by Bradley. Following a simple missed 13 metre free by Bradley which came back off the post St Paul’s rose from their slumbers to stage a stirring fightback to not once but twice come back from the dead. There is sure to be an even bigger crowd at the eagerly awaited replay.

St Paul’s Bessbrook: R Daly, J Bennett, D Loye, C Magennis, D Hanrahan (1-0), E McCabe, C Clarke, Z Burnickas, R McGuinness (0-1), R Keenan, L Kerr (0-3, 2f), C Cosgrove, N Magennis, S Loye (0-7, 4f), R Hughes (0-1).

Sub: T O’Hagan for Cosgrove

St Mary’s Magherafelt: O Lynch, C Devlin, S Kelly, M Loughran, D Cassidy (0-1), C McCluskey, E Kelly, K McCann, T Donaghy, A Connolly (0-2), L Quinn (1-0), S McErlean (0-1), D Bradley (0-5, 5f), K Small (0-3, 1f), C Murphy.

Sub: T McAteer for Bradley

Referee: C Branagan, Down.