Holy Trinity squeezes past Bessbrook in MacRory

December 01, 2018

Danske Bank MacRory Cup Eliminator
Holy Trinity Cookstown 1-11 St Paul’s Bessbrook 1-10
UNLIKE almost all the other games played this week in the Danske Bank MacRory Cup, this one in Stewartstown wasn’t split into a game of two halves by the wind blowing down the pitch. Nevertheless it became a game of two halves with Holy Trinity Cookstown on top during the first and then really hanging on by the fingertips at the end as St Paul’s Bessbrook tried hard to remain in the competition.
But neither did Cookstown make life easy for themselves. Already without Mark Devlin who had been suspended after seeing red in their last group game against Maghera, Holy Trinity then lost full-back Caolan Mulgrew to a black card after just five minutes yesterday.
Nevertheless with three points from Tiarnan Quinn and two from Shane Murphy they led by 0-7 to 0-4 coming into the break. Then Quinn, playing at centre-half back burst through the middle, played a one-two with Paul Connolly in the corner and crashed the ball to the Bessbrook net.
It was a huge setback to Bessbrook who went from a two points’ deficit to one of six points in the 90 seconds before the change-over.
But Sean McGennity, Ryan Short and Sean McVerry galvanised the Armagh side for the second half and within ten minutes they were very much back in contention, Odhrán Kierans firing low to the net in the 39th to make it 1-8 to 1-6.
Both teams then battled gamely to the finish line. However Cookstown, with Odhrán Mulgrew, Pauric Lagan, Shane Murphy and Tiarnan Quinn all working very hard, managed to keep them at arm’s length.
On a couple of occasions Ryan Hughes and Odhran Kierans managed to close the gap to a single point, but Lagan, then Murphy from a free and finally Nathan Connolly opened it back to two points.
Pádraig Wilson closed it again to a one point game with time running short and Bessbrook had a couple of opportunities to draw level. But misplaced passes under pressure allowed Holy Trinity to survive and set up a quarter-final play-off with St Colman’s Newry, probably in Páirc Esler at the end of January.
Cookstown : Tiarnan Quinn 1-4, Shane Murphy 0-3, Pauric Lagan 0-2, Paul Connolly 0-1, Nathan Connolly 0-1.
Bessbrook : Odhran Kierans1-3, Ryan Hughes 0-4, Tony O’Callaghan 0-1, Caolan Connell 0-1, Padraig Wilson 0-1