Extra time heartache in Croke Park for St Ciarán’s

April 02, 2017

St Ciaran’s Ballygawley 2-16 Ballinrobe Community School 2-19

From Kevin Kelly in Croke Park

St Ciaran’s Ballygawley’s hopes of adding the All-Ireland title to their Danske Bank MacLarnon success came up short when they lost an extra time thriller to Ballinrobe Community School at Croke Park on Saturday afternoon.

It was a superb contest from start to finish with the Tyrone lads being denied victory in injury time at the end of normal time when Conor Heneghan held his nerve to convert a 40m free as it finished 1-11 each.

In the first half of extra time a goal from Darragh McGovern helped the Mayo lads go six clear but St Ciaran’s showed their character to hit back with a Ciaran Traynor goal and in the second period they reduced the deficit to the minimum before Ballinrobe got the match winning scores.

Joint manager Brendan Treanor was full of praise for his charges after the game.

“I’m very proud of the lads, they are a special bunch of players,” said Brendan.

“They have given us everything all year and at the end of the day they were beaten by one score after extra time. I’m devastated for them but they owe the School nothing.

“Their commitment all year has been brilliant. It was their big day but the result just didn’t go our way. We were five points down in normal time but clawed it back to go in front towards the end but we just couldn’t hold on and you have to credit Ballinrobe for that as well.”

The winners enjoyed the perfect start to the game with Heneghan getting an early goal minutes after Liam Hughes had missed a glorious chance to find the net as well. Cathal Slattery and Thomas Conroy added points but then St Ciaran’s got on top.

Midfielder Daniel Millar and the impressive Pascal Donaghy landed a number of points as the Tyrone lads turned things around to lead 0-7 to 1-3 at the interval.

Efforts from wing half back Oisin Mullin and Heneghan saw the lead change hands on the re-start but in the 36th minute good work from Caoimhin O’Donnell saw him set up Cormaic Donnelly for a goal.

St Ciaran’s were two in front at this stage but Ballinrobe didn’t panic as they reeled off five unanswered points to take a grip on proceedings, Slattery and Heneghan with a brace each.

Two 45s from Donnelly as well as a fine point from O’Donnell brought the sides level and when Thomas Hoy split the posts with two minutes to go St Ciaran’s had one hand on the trophy.

Heneghan though held his nerve with a long range free conversion to leave it 1-11 each and force extra time.

The first half of extra time saw the Mayo lads lay the foundations for their victory as Darragh McGovern’s early goal was followed by points from Conroy and Slattery and they moved six clear.

St Ciaran’s though showed great character to hit back with Ciaran Traynor collecting a quick free from O’Donnell to smash the ball to the net before Donaghy closed the gap to three by the end of the first period of extra time.

Donnelly and Donaghy closed the gap to the minimum but Ballinrobe were able to respond through Conroy and Slattery as they took the silverware.

St Ciaran’s Ballygawley – P Traynor, M Lennon, Conor Quinn, J Murray, Callum Corrigan (0-1), Cathair Quinn, Cathal Corrigan, J Oguz, D Millar (0-2), P Donaghy (0-6), C Donnelly (1-4, 3 “45s”), C Traynor (1-0), T Hoy (0-2), C O’Donnell (0-1), D Canavan.

Subs – P McNeilis for Murray, J Doyle for Millar, M Owens for Hoy, D Millar for Oguz

Ballinrobe Community School – C Ferriter, P Feerick, O O’Malley, P Butler, O Mullin (0-1), L Hughes, A McDonnell, E O’Brien, D McGovern (1-0), D Munroe, N Moran, A Barrett (0-1), T Conroy (0-4), C Heneghan (1-5, 3f), C Slattery (0-6, 4f).

Subs – B O’Halloran (0-1) for Munroe, T Quinn (0-1) for Barrett, R Philbin for O’Brien, O Connolly for McDonnell, R Jennings for Heneghan

Referee – B Cawley, Kildare