Holders back in O’Doherty semi-final

January 24, 2019

Danske Bank O’Doherty Cup quarter-final :
Coláiste Ailigh Letterkenny 2-10 Lumen Christi Derry 1-6
THE Danske Bank O’Doherty Cup holders Coláiste Ailigh Letterkenny sent out a clear message in O’Donnell Park Letterkenny yesterday that they are held bent on retaining the trophy, coming from 1-4 to 0-5 down at the break to power through to a semi-final against St Aidan’s Cootehill.
They had the breeze on their backs for that second period and took the lead with the first of Oisín Mac Gairbheith’s two goals in the 37th minute. However the key element of the performance was the way their defence handled the huge threat posed by Ben McCarron.
McCarron had fired home 3-1 for Derry in a Dr McKenna Cup game earlier in the month and the signs were ominous when he hit the back of the Coláiste Ailigh net in the 8th minute. However two and even three Letterkenny players were then deployed to cover the Steelstown player and the rest of the team worked hard to close the space created and they then break at pace.
By half-time, three points from Sean Breen had left Coláiste Ailigh well-placed at 0-5 to 1-4 for Lumen Christi. The focus now fell on the Derry team’s defence and Peter O’Flaherty and Oisin O’Donnell played brilliantly under siege.
Mac Gairbheith’s goal edged the holders ahead and they added a couple of points with replies from McCarron and Odhrán McMenamin from a free leaving it fairly tight entering the last ten minutes.
However Mac Gairbheith sealed the win with his second strike in the 55th minute and Coláiste Ailigh eased over the line and into a last four meeting with Cootehill, with the Community Colleges of Ballybay and Moville meeting in the other side of the draw.
Meanwhile the other Letterkenny school in action yesterday slumped to a 4-11 to 1-6 defeat to De la Salle Downpatrick in the Danske Bank Ward Cup quarter-final at Cookstown.
Errigal College were always chasing this game after an early goal from Declan Looney. Indeed but for a brilliant display from goalkeeper Victor Bernardo Errigal would have suffered a much heavier defeat.
De la Salle will face St Mogue’s Bawnboy in next week’s semi-final, while Coláiste Oiriall Monaghan and Gairmscoil Chú Uladh Glenfin play the first semi-final on Monday in Garvaghey.
Coláiste Ailigh : Oisín Mac Gairbheith 2-1, Sean Breen 0-3, 0-2 frees, Rónán Mac Gaoithín 0-2, Iarlaith Mac Fhionnlaoich 0-1, Seán Ó Riáin 0-1, Tony Ó Gallachóir, Diarmuid Ó Cathail 0-1
Lumen Christi : Ben McCarron 1-3, Conor Boyle 0-1, Jack Breslin 0-1, Odhrán McMenamin 0-1