Danske Bank Irish News Cup Final

December 19, 2023

Danske Bank Irish News Cup final

St Patrick’s, Banbridge, 5-5 St Clare’s, Ballyjamesduff 2-11

THE start that Leon Brodacki gave St Patrick’s, Banbridge in yesterday’s Danske Bank Irish News Cup final in Darver sustained them for the rest of the game to see them edge home against St Clare’s, Ballyjamesduff in a thrilling finish.

Brodacki had the ball in the Cavan net straight from the throw-in and by the fifth minute the Clann na Banna forward had completed his hat-trick.

Although Emmet McCaul got through for a Ballyjamesduff point, it didn’t stop what was happening at the other end. Banbridge midfielder Chris O’Hagan fired home a fourth goal for his side. There were just 10 minutes gone.

Courageously, St Clare’s fought back with five of the next six points and then right on half-time Oisín Smith banged in a goal to put them very much back in the frame at 4-1 to 1-6.

Amazingly, the Cavan side were to take the lead seven minutes into the second half when points from Nathan O’Reilly and McCaul were followed by a goal from Joey Galligan.

However, they were hit on the break in the next attack when Brodacki poked the ball under Seán Cusack for his fourth goal.

Although St Clare’s fought back to equalise with points from Galligan and McCaul, Banbridge finished the last 10 minutes strongly with three points from Chris O’Hagan and one from Liam Feeney with just a single in reply from Oisín Smith.

Brodacki’s contribution was immense, while O’Hagan chipped in with 1-3 at just the right time, but goalie Darragh Wood, defender Cole Rooney and sweeper Eoin Heskith all showed up well particularly when Ballyjamesduff were on the offensive.

Had the Cavan side completed their comeback by holding out during the last quarter, they would have looked to the performances of Aaron McEnerney, Fionn Egan, O’Reilly, McCaul and Smith as well as Lorcán Farrelly who came off the bench in the first half to help turn the tide.

St Patrick’s L Brodacki 4-1; C O’Hagan 1-3; F Fegan & L Feeny 0-1 each.

St Clare’s O Smith 1-2; J Galligan 1-1; E McCaul 0-5; N O’Reilly 0-2; E Clarke 0-1

FRIDAY’S game was the 31st Ulster schools’ GAA final of the term, most of which were completed over the last fortnight.