Bessbrook & St Mary’s play out MacRory semi draw

February 22, 2017

Danske Bank MacRory Cupsemi-final

St Paul’s Bessbrook 1-12 St Mary’s Magherafelt 1-12

From Kevin Kelly at Dub

There was high drama at the Dub last night as St Paul’s Bessbrook full-forward Shea Loye held his nerve to land an outstanding pressure free from out on the left wing to force a replay.

That score came three minutes into injury time and proved to be the last kick of the game and it came 60 seconds after Kevin Small looked to have won it for St Mary’s Magherafelt with an equally outstanding free conversion.

That didn’t tell half the tale though of a gripping encounter that really exploded into life in the last ten minutes just when St Mary’s looked set for the final. They held a five point lead at that stage but missed chances cost them dear and when Dean Hanrahan first timed the ball to the net it was game on again.

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.

The Derry school led 1-7 to 0-8 at the break after recovering from a slow start to the game. St Paul’s Bessbrook made all the early running with lively corner forward Ryan Hughes opening the scoring after only 20 seconds.

A good ball from Richard Keenan found Liam Kerr who off-loaded for full forward Shea Loye to double their advantage before Declan Cassidy burst through for a superb point at the other end of the field to open Magherafelt’s account in the 4th minute.

Kerr and Loye both converted Bessbrook frees as John Rafferty’s charges opened up a 0-4 to 0-1 lead by the 6th minute. An outstanding score from an almost impossible angle out on the right wing from Adam Connolly kept St Mary’s in touch before Ronan McGuinness and Daniel Bradley exchanged points.

Loye kicked his third point of the half and when Kerr converted another free St Paul’s were four to the good with a dozen minutes to the break.

St Marys then took over 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.

It took 12 minutes for the opening score of the second half to arrive via Loye although moments before that Small almost got in for a goal at the other end of the field when he went round keeper Ryan Daly but the angle proved too much.

A brilliant Connolly point was followed by three Bradley frees but the latter missed a few as well, most notably one from only 13m out that came back of the post.

That Hanrahan goal set up a tense finish with both Small and Loye knocking over frees that an inter-county senior player would be proud off and both sides lived to fight another day.

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