Leon’s late winner for Loreto

December 04, 2019

Danske Bank Sciath Loch an Iúir final.
Loreto Coleraine 4-9 St Paul’s Bessbrook 3-11
THIS Danske Bank Sciath Loch an Iúir competition threw up two excellent semi-finals last week and yesterday’s decider in Woodlands certainly did not disappoint those who took the time to attend!
A see-saw battle from start to finish with Callum Toner going round his marker and burying a goal for St Paul’s Bessbrook in the 54th minute to put his side a point clear.
There was time left for wind-assisted Loreto to level. They owned the ball for the next five minutes but Bessbrook defended brilliantly and nothing was happening until Matthew Johnson held on to possession in the corner and won a free.
He took it quickly and the ball was moved through to Leon Boyd who hit the top-corner from 20 metres. But there was still time for a final twist.
St Paul’s won a free, Kealan McDonnell tried to take a quick one before Loreto were properly set up – but his shot screamed just over the cross-bar and Coleraine had survived!
McDonnell was the hero of the semi-final win last week and he very nearly pulled Bessbrook through once more, supported by Emmet McKeever, whose kick-outs were top-class, Alan Roker, Mícheál Hughes, Conor Loye and sweeper Feargal Boylan.
However Leon Boyd was always a threat to them, so too Dara Kelly a last minute replacement for Niall Clyde, Willie John Bradley coming through from half-back with Conor McGarry sound at full-back.
Although Bessbrook had the use of the breeze in the opening half it was two points each after ten minutes, Joe Dillon and Kealan McDonnell on target. Then a high ball into the Coleraine area was worked across for Conor Loye to lash to the net.
Dillon stroked home an 18th minute penalty to tie the teams on 1-3 each and they traded scores over the next ten minutes before another high ball into the Coleraine area was spilled and Dara Kelly found the net. Half time : St Paul’s 2-6, Loreto 1-6.
Joe Dillon pointed twice at the start of the second half and Willie John Bradley burst forward for another point before Boyd and Bradley combined for Tiernan Kearney to send a bullet to the Bessbrook net.
That roused the Armagh team and McDonnell hit back with two frees, Boylan and Marc McElroy added two more points before Leon Boyd reacted first to Joe Dillon’s shot coming off a post and stabbed home a third goal for Loreto.
Then the drama of the last seven minutes, when Bessbrook re-took the lead only to be denied by Boyd near the end.
Loreto: R Dempsey, M Cunningham, C McGarry, C O’Kane, J McNicholl, WJ Bradley (0-1), M Smyth (0-1), C Doherty, N McLaughlin (0-2), E Kilmartin, J Dillon capt (1-4, 1-0 pen.), R McNicholl, T Kearney (1-0), L Boyd (2-1), T McCloskey
Subs : C Black for T Kearney, M Johnston for T McCloskey.
St Paul’s : E McKeever, A Roker, C Hanratty, S McParland, O Cunningham, M McCreesh, M McElroy (0-1), M Hughes, A Lynch, D Crilly, K McDonnell (0-8, 0-5 frees), M McCoy, F Boylan (0-1), C Loye (1-0), D Kelly (1-1)
Subs : C Toner (1-0) for D Kelly, A Reavey for M McCoy, J McParland for O Cunningham