An Dún take first Mageean title

November 14, 2018

Danske Bank Mageean Cup final
An Dún 5-13-1-10 St Patrick’s Maghera
By Kevin Herron from the Dub
An Dún created Danske Bank Mageean Cup history and became the first team from the county to lift the famous trophy in its 57-year history with a comfortable 5-13-1-10 win over holders St Patrick’s Maghera in the showpiece decider at The Dub this evening.
A hat-trick of goals from Ronan Blair either side of the break sunk Maghera – with Stuart Martin and Niall McFarland grabbing their side’s other majors. Tiarnan McHugh hit Maghera’s only goal but in truth the holders were outclassed by a driven and hungry An Dún side.
An Dún made a terrific start under lights at the pristine Dub arena – Ronan Blair landed an early 65′ metre free and was denied the opening goal from a close range free sixty seconds later.
Man of the match Ronan Blair receives the Man of the Match awards after his match winning performance. Pic by Dylan McIlwaine
The opening goal arrived after six minutes – Stuart Martin picked up the loose ball after Maghera were caught daydreaming and Martin advanced towards the target before rifling past Daniel Glass.
Niall McFarland popped over the bar in the aftermath though it was to be his side’s last score for a quarter of an hour as St Patrick’s Maghera started on the comeback trail.
The Derry side’s first score arrived courtesy of a converted Fintan Bradley free – Lavey club man Bradley amassed 13 frees in his side’s quarter-final victory over St Mary’s CBGS and by the 17th minute had registered four unanswered placed balls; Ryan McGill conjured up his side’s first point from play to level the game at 1-2 to 0-5.
Niall McFarland and Bradley (free) exchanged points and on 23 minutes the holders hit the front for the first time through half forward Michael McCormack.
Within sixty seconds An Dún went back in front however – Ronan Blair’s free appeared to be destined to drop over the bar – but Maghera keeper Daniel Glass misjudged the flight of the ball under the lights and Blair was fortuitous to claim the goal and make it 2-3 to 0-7.
Maghera were behind for a mere two minutes before they regained the lead – a high ball from Odhran Downey was batted down by Michael McCormack and Tiarnan McHugh received the ball to confidently rifle past Cathal Lavery.
Stuart Martin levelled the game for a third time with a difficult angled point and almost hit his side’s third goal on the 28th minute. However, Martin was superbly denied by Glass and a scramble ensued which resulted in a 65′ that came to nothing.
An Dún would edge ahead at the break through a converted Ronan Blair free a minute into injury-time as the Mourne county led 2-5 to 1-7 at the midway point of a pulsating final.
Tim Prenter increased An Dun’s lead within 60 seconds of the restart and Padraig Doran opened his account for the evening before departing temporarily to receive treatment for a bloodied nose.
An Dún’s Stuart celebrates after scoring his team’s opening goal. Pic by Dylan McIlwaine
Ronan Blair edged An Dún ahead and a few minutes later things would be a lot more comfortable.
On 43 minutes Niall McFarland’s high ball was batted away by Daniel Glass, Blair picked up the scraps turned away from the Maghera defensive trio and rifled to the net to give his side a 3-8 to 1-7 lead.
Within 60 seconds or less Stuart Martin then picked out Blair who lashed to the net for the third time and An Dún were coasting.
Midway through the second-half St Patrick’s Maghera hit back through Shea Cassidy and Fintan Bradley (free) – though Ronan Blair converted his third free of the evening.
Ten minutes from time An Dún capped a five-star performance with a fifth goal as Niall McFarland’s high ball dropped to the net past Glass to making it 5-9 to 1-9.
Ronan Blair converted two further frees with PJ McAleese responding from a similar scenario for St Patrick’s.
It wasn’t the holders evening as Fintan Bradley saw his low drive squirm and eventually fall short of goal as Cathal Lavery recovered and gathered at the second attempt.
A foul on Tiarnan McHugh led to referee Fionntan McCotter signalling for a Maghera penalty – there would be more frustration however as Lavery guessed right and denied Bradley.
Blair and midfielder Sean Hughes ended the evening’s scoring.
An Dún: C Lavery, I Hussain, M McAreavey, A Furlong, J Hughes, C Watson, S Campbell, P Savage, S Hughes (0-01), C Coulter, S Martin (1-01), N McFarland (1-01), T Prenter (0-01), R Blair (3-08, 1-06f; 0-01 65′), P Doran (0-01). Subs: F Caldwell for P Doran (41 mins – blood sub), F Caldwell for P Doran (53 mins), L Boyd for J Hughes (54 mins), A Dorrian for P Savage (58 mins), C Lyons for S Martin (59 mins).
St Patrick’s Maghera: D Glass, PJ McAleese (0-01f), E MacOscair, JP McGuigan, B Walsh, O Downey, D Simpson, J Mellon, S McKenna, F Bradley (0-06f), M McCormack (0-01), R McPeake, R McGill (0-01), T McHugh (1-00), S Cassidy (0-01). Subs: D McCartney for R McGill (44 mins), N O’Kane for R McPeake (59 mins), P McGuigan for PJ McAleese (62 mins).
Referee: Fionntán Mac Oitir (Aontroim).

Pictures from John Curly McIlwaine