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St Colman’s reach MacRory final

St Colman’s Newry 0-16 St Patrick’s Armagh 0-12

St Colman’, Newry will be hoping to add MacRory title number 20 to cement their position as the leading all time competition winners when they will play St Patrick’s, Maghera in the Danske Bank MacRory Cup final following their 0-16 to 0-12 victory over St Patrick’s Armagh at the Athletic Grounds on Friday night. 

The match outcome was in the balance but the introduction of Colman’s substitute Eamon Brown (0-2) coincided with Cian McLoughlin (0-5) springing to life and their 7 point haul between them eventually killed off a very determined St Pat’s challenge.

Winning manager Cathal Murray would have been delighted with his teams start as they opened up a 6-2 lead but then faltered as the short whistle approached allowing the Armagh side notch 3 points to leave it a one point game 6-5 at half-time. Armagh’s Mark McKeever opened the scoring from a placed ball but a like score from Colman’s full-forward Andrew Gilmore restored parity but a second for McKeever, this time from play gave the city side back the lead. The Violet Hill side then enjoyed their best spell of the half with an Andrew Crimmins point sandwiched in between a brace from the boot of Ronan Fitzpatrick. On 16 minutes St Pat’s goalkeeper atoned for his penalty foul on Crimmins as he pushed Gilomore spot kick onto the crossbar and over for a point quickly followed by their sixth point courtesy of Padraig Clancy who hit the target from 40 metres out, to leave it 0-6 to 0-2. Credit though to Armagh for weathering the storm as points from half-back Sean Quigley, Oisín Conaty followed by a converted McKeever mark, left it all to play for in the second period with the minimum between the teams.

Within a minute of the restart the sides were level via a second Conaty point only for Crimmins to restore Colman’s advantage with a super strike from out on the wing. The match was level for the fourth time as Ryan Bradley pointed before James Walsh gave Pat’s back a short lived lead with Gilmore finding the equaliser. McKeever, from a free edged Armagh back in front but substitute Eamon Brown had an instant impact as he stroked over a terrific mark for Colman’s to tie matters once again at 9 points a piece. With the match now in the melting pot McLoughlin rose to the occasion as the Newry side pulled away inside the last quarter outscoring their opponents 7 points to 3 as yellow and black cards saw both teams finish without a full compliment of players.

Back in only their second final since their last MacRory win in 2011 Colman’s will be keen to atone for their 2017 0-19 to 0-13 loss to St Mary’s, Magherafelt. All that stands in their way are 2016 winners and second in the all time list of winners St Patrick’s, Maghera who were 3-13 to 2-07 semi-final winners over St Pat’s, Dungannon.

St.Colman’s, Newry: P McAteer, R Campbell, T Magee, R French, M Hynes, S O’Hare, P McGrane, L Fearon, C Lyons, R Fitzpatrick (0-2), P Clancy (0-1), C McLoughlin (0-5, 3F), D McCarthy, R Fitzpatrick, A Gilmore (0-4, 2F, 0-1 pen), A Crimmins (0-2). 

Sub: E Brown (0-2, 1M) for Fitzpatrick 

St Patrick’s, Armagh: C McKee, O Guy, L Camarra, A Harney, S Quigley (0-1), C Toner, L McKenna, S Donaghy, K McCann, O Conaty (0-2), R Bradley (0-1), J Walsh (0-2), M McKeever (0-6, 3F, 1M), M McGleenan, O Houlahan. 

Subs: K Robinson for Houlahan, M Lennon for McKenna 

Referee: B Cassidy, Derry.