Maghera into another MacRory decider

February 26, 2020

Danske Bank MacRory Cup semi-final

St Patrick’s Maghera 3-13 St Patrick’s Academy Dungannon 2-7

IT ALL unravelled for St Patrick’s Academy Dungannon after the 40th minute in the Loup last night when a second goal inside three minutes from Sean Cowan drew the teams level at 2-7 to 1-10.

Over the next six minutes the Tyrone side blasted wide on three occasions and then lost Oisin McHugh to a black card in the 49th minute.

A couple of minutes earlier Sean Kearney had edged Maghera ahead from a free and then guided a neat pass through for PJ McAleese to find the net.

A few minutes later and any chance the Academy had left was gone when Fintan Coney took down McAleese as he was about to pull the trigger a second time. Coney got a straight red and Kearney buried the penalty.

However over the hour Maghera was the more inventive team with defenders James McGurk, PJ McAleese and Lee Brady all breaking at pace and causing problems. 

Cowan’s two goals gave the Dungannon side a real chance and momentum, but from then on they contributed to their own downfall.

McGurk opened the score with a point from 45 metres after five minutes and he also got the next score, with Lavey club mate Enda Downey popping a pass inside the cover and McGurk hit the net from 20 metres.

Although Shane Donnelly responded with a good point for the Academy, the Downey cousins and Sean Kearney stretched Maghera’s lead to 1-4 to 0-1 after 15 minutes.

Dungannon needed a response and got it with Luke Donnelly shooting a close in free and their best forward Sean Cowan firing over two quick points only for late scores from Jamie Duggan and Lee Brady to turn Maghera over with a 1-6 to 0-5 lead.

In a scoring blitz at the start of the second half, the Downey cousins hit two scores each and Maghera moved into a 1-10 to 0-7 lead after just six minutes.

Cowan then picked up a neat pass from Shane Donnelly and picked his spot across Scullion just inside the post. When he repeated the dose three minutes later after a great Academy move down the right wing for 1-10 to 2-7 the game was nicely poised.

But mistakes and Maghera stepping up a gear sealed Dungannon’s fate and the Derry school is back in the final in search of their 17th title with plenty to spare in the end. And an omen, they beat Dungannon in the 2016 semi-final that year.

The second semi-final between St Patrick’s Armagh and st Colman’s Newry will take place tomorrow evening (FRIDAY) in the Athletic Grounds with a 7.30pm start.

St Patrick’s Maghera : Z Scullion, P McLoughlin, A McGuckin, PJ McAleese (1-0), L Brady (0-1), R McFaul, J McGurk (1-1), S McKenna, T Higgins, J Duggan (0-1), E Doherty (0-1), M Downey (0-4, 0-2 frees), S Kearney (1-3, 1-0 pen, 0-2 frees), E Downey (0-2 frees), S O’Neill.

Subs : C Milne for P McLoughlin (59), C Higgins for S O’Neill (59), S Murray for S ONeill (60)

St Patrick’s Academy : F Coney, A Toner, C Begley, G Teague, S McLaughlin, O McHugh, P Kearney, S Daly (0-1), M O’Neill, E Donnelly, S McCann, S Donnelly (0-1), S Cowan (2-3), R Carmichael, L Donnelly (0-2 frees).

Subs : C Skeffington for C Begley (54), R McHugh for S McLaughlin (54), H Morgan for E Donnelly (57), N McMurray for S McCann (62)

Referee : M McNally (Monaghan)

Picture – Thanks to Co Derry Post