CPC’s brilliant comeback win

October 25, 2019

Danske Bank MacNamee Cup final

Cross and Passion Ballycastle 2-7 St Killian’s Garron Tower 3-2
CROSS and Passion Ballycastle collected the first Ulster Schools’ trophy of the year when they held off the determined challenge of St Killian’s Garron Tower in the Danske Bank MacNamee Cup final in Ballymena yesterday.
St Killian’s got the perfect start – a goal after just 15 seconds and another in third minute – and they held off the eventual winners until midway through the second half when Roan McGarry’s brilliant free from 55 metres close to the sideline went over the bar to put Cross and Passion into the lead for the first time.
This was an excellent final, one of the best in recent years, with huge intensity from start to finish, a high level of skill and then an exciting finish with Ballycastle hanging on for victory.
Liam Glackin pushing out to centre-half back, Roan McGarry, Aidan Richmond, Oisin McCallin and Conor Donnelly drove the Ballycastle fight-back, but it wasn’t until Callum Cane started to hold up the sliotar in the Garron Tower defence that his side was able to convert enough chances to win the game.
The Tower were chasing three titles in a row and their defence held firm under a lot of pressure with goalie Joseph McKay outstanding. Aodhan Campbell, Callum McIlwaine and Callagh Mooney all played well, but, apart from those early scores, the forwards couldn’t really get going.
From the throw-in Callum McIlwaine broke and found Oran McCambridge who in turn picked out Thomas McLaughlin for a goal.
Although Aidan Richmond responded with a Ballycastle point, McIlwaine won a free 40 metres out and McCambridge’s shot dipped just under the cross bar. The full-forward then picked out Callagh Mooney driving through the centre for a point and a six points’ advantage for the Tower.
Ballycastle drove forward then for the rest of the half and Joseph McKay pulled off several great saves before he was eventually beaten by a shot from Conor Donnelly and the gap was cut to 2-1 to 1-2 at the break.
Oisin McCallin and Aodhán Campbell swopped points on the re-start before Conor Donnelly from a free and Aidan Richmond pulled the teams level ten minutes into the second half.
Points in quick succession from Roan McGarry (a free) and Callum Cane (off a post) pushed CPC clear. While St Killian’s wasted a couple of chances at one end, Conor Donnelly won possession 30 metres out, drove around the outside and fired low across McKay for the match-winning goal.
As the game slipped into added time, Callagh Mooney despatched a 30m free to the roof of the net. There were a couple of other late attacks from the Tower, but Ballycastle held out for their first title at this level in seven years.
Cross and Passion : A Mullan, A Hughes, L Glackin, C Boylan, C Baudant, D Donnelly, A Kelly, R McGarry 0-1 free, K Agoha, A Richmond 0-2, C Donnelly 2-1, 0-1 free, R Fitzgerald, D O’Mullan, C Cane 0-1, O McCallin 0-2.
Subs : C Crawford for K Agoha, C McGarry for D O’Mullan
St Killian’s : J McKay, J Kearney, J Scullion, O McClintock, A Campbell 0-1, F McKillop, C Ward, C McIlwaine, C Mooney 1-1, 1-0 free, D Douthart, O McCambridge 1-0 free, C McAuley, T McLaughlin 1-0, D Higgins, C McNaughton
Referee : Owen Elliott (Ballymena)

Sean McGourty of Ulster Colleges presents the Dankse Bank McNamee Cup to CPC captain Liam Glackin after his team’s win over St Killian’s College Garron Tower in Friday’s final at Quinn Park, Ballymena. Pic by John McIlwaine