St Joseph’s, Crossmaglen Reach Ulster Colleges Herald Cup Final

November 20, 2012

On Thursday St Joseph’s Herald Cup team beat St Malachy’s, Belfast to book their place in the Herald Cup final where they await the winners of the second semi-final between Rathmore Grammar, Belfast and St Paul’s, Bessbrook. This second semi final has been postponed until Tuesday because of the involvement of Bessbrook’s Killeavy players who are aiming for their own Ulster club U’16 win. The date and venue of the final depends on the outcome of the second semi-final.

Having won the Herald Cup in the first year that St Joseph’s entered College’s competitions in 2007 and now to reach the final again after being beaten in the semi final last year is a magnificent achievement by this dedicated squad. Coached by Ollie Reel, Oliver Short, John Mc Mahon and ably assisted by Fintan Burns and David McKenna the St Joseph’s boys will be suitably prepared to face their opposition in the final. Having defeated local county rivals St Michael’s, Lurgan in the quarter final and beaten St Patrick’s, Downpatrick in a group play off, the Crossmaglen school have improved steadily after an unconvincing league section. This squad are hoping to bring home the 4th Ulster title since 2007 but their task will not be easy.

Played in ideal conditions on the immaculate surface of the Mayobridge pitch the St Joseph’s boys suffered a set back when they conceded an early goal. However, this proved to be the wake up call the defence needed, as the Crossmaglen rearguard, expertly marshalled by Phelim McArdle and Declan Reel only conceded a further 2 points in this pulsating first half. St Joseph’s midfielders of Francis O’Rourke and inter provincial rugby star Tiernan Gollogly got to grips with a mobile St Malachy’s midfield and dominated proceeding from early on. The outlet passes to full-forward Peter Quinn and the free scoring Miceal McCabe were excellent and assisted by the strong running of year 10 student Eoghan McDonnell and captain PJ McCann the St Joseph’s boys rapidly brought themselves into the game. After a magnificent solo run and shot from the athletic Jack McArdle the St Malachy’s keeper saw his wonderful save rebound to Peter Quinn who dispatched it to the net. A 6 man team move culminated in a wonderful goal by Miceal McCabe who in the first half scored another 4 points, the tireless Pauric Mackin added a third goal soon afterwards. Just before half-time Eoghan McDonnell deserved his score when after a forceful solo run he blasted the ball over the bar.

Half-Time score St Joseph’s Crossmaglen 3 – 5 St Malachy’s 1 -2

The second half saw spirited attacks by the Belfast boys and the constant danger was thwarted by the excellent tenacious play of corner-backs Sean Garvey and the free roaming Fergal Burns. Half-backs Daniel Cunningham and strong running Johnny McKeever set up the platform for midfielders and forwards to thrive. St Joseph’s added another 6 unanswered points through Miceal McCabe (3) and Eoghan McDonnell (2) and Jack McArdle (1) and despite the never say die attitude of St Malachy’s, who scored 2 more points and another goal, the game was never in doubt. St Malachy’s continued to throw caution to the wind and had a number of goal chances expertly saved by David Garvey. However, in a classic 5 man move, begun by captain McCann and clinically finished by the youthful McDonnell, the Belfast team conceded another goal. Indeed PJ McCann added another 2 points and Jack McArdle added another as time and St Joseph’s marched on. Throughout the second half a number of important tactical substitutions were made and Tiernan Thornton, Ryan Smylie, Shane Farrelly, Conor Traynor, Stephen Morris and Cailum Kierans enhanced their reputations and proved that competition for final places is by no means guaranteed.

The final score was St Joseph’s 4 -15 St Malachy’s, Belfast 2-4

We would like to thank all those who support us in our endeavours and urge past teachers, parents and past pupils to attend the final when it is announced, in particular our appreciation goes to Shorts Sports and Cycles, Gerard Moley of Moley Coaches and to Hugh Smylie, all of whose generosity is hugely valued.

St Joseph’s Squad and Scorers

David Garvey, Sean Garvey, Declan Reel, Feargal Burns, Johnny McKeever, Phelim McArdle, Daniel Cunningham, Tiernan Gonnolly (0-1), Francis O’Rourke, Jack McArdle (0-2), Eoghan McDonnell (1-3), Pauric Mackin (1-0), Miceal McCabe (1-7), Peter Quinn (1-0) PJ McCann (CAPTAIN) (0-2). Ryan Smylie, Tiernan Thornton, Conor Traynor, Cailum Kierans, Shane Farrelly, Stephen Morris, Caolan Moley, James O’Hanlon, Francis Hearty, Fearghal Mackin and Dylan Smyth.