Maghera set up repeat of last year’s Mageean final

November 06, 2018

Danske Bank Mageean Cup semi-final
St Patrick’s Maghera 3-13 St Louis Ballymena 2-7
HOLDERS St Patrick’s Maghera still maintain a firm grip on the Danske Bank Mageean Cup and, after yesterday’s semi-final in Ahoghill, St Louis Ballymena can testify to the intensity of the Derry school’s game.
Despite the mid-Antrim school getting the perfect start, a goal in the third minute from Colla McDonnell, it was Maghera’s intensity, aggression and physical presence under the dropping ball that was the main feature of this game that has produced a repeat of last year’s final between Maghera and An Dún.
St Louis started the game as favourites after topping their qualification group with Maghera third in theirs, but they simply could not get to grips with the Derry side with Eoghan MacOscair, Dara Simpson and Odhrán Downey immense at the back, Tiarnan McHugh a huge presence at full-forward and good support and clever play from midfield and half-forward.
By contrast St Louis forwards seemed to be living on scraps with their defence, despite the presence of a sweeper in front of McHugh, under plenty of pressure from the diagonal ball and little penetration through the centre until the final ten minutes.
Colla McDonnell gave them a good start with that early goal, but McHugh, Fintan Bradley and Shea Cassidy all registered points before McHugh fed Cassidy for Maghera’s goal 17 minutes into the game.
St Louis managed to keep in touch however, mainly through frees from Seaan Elliott, and the teams turned over on level terms at 1-5 each.
Maghera’s intent was clear in the opening few minutes of the second half with Fintan Bradley firing over an early free. A minute later a long ball to Tiarnan McHugh again found its target and the Dungiven man fired across the goalie into the bottom corner.
Maghera now had their tails up and Bradley added three more points before Ciaran McQuillan grabbed a half-clearance and opened Ballymena’s account for the half after 12 minutes.
Cassidy and accurate free-taker Bradley replied with Maghera points before the result was put to bed in the 52nd minute with Maghera’s third goal; another long ball to McHugh who fed Cassidy to shoot across Paul Doherty and hit the same spot in the bottom corner that McHugh had found 20 minutes earlier.
St Louis had created a few openings prior to that, but were wide from three frees and then had a 20 metres’ free saved on the line. Elliott did hit the roof of the net from a close-in free on 58 minutes, but it was too late and Maghera had already set up a repeat of last year’s final which will take place next Tuesday evening at the Dub.
St Patrick’s : Daniel Glass, PJ McAleese, Eoghan MacOscar, JP McGuigan, Barry Walsh, Odhran Downey, Darragh Simpson, John Mellon, Seamus McKenna, Fintan Bradley (0-8, 0-6 frees), Michael McCormick, Ryan McPeake, Ryan McGill, Tiernan McHugh (1-2), Shea Cassidy (2-3).
St Louis: Paul Doherty, Rory McCloskey, Declan McCloskey, Eoin McCusker, Shane O’Boyle, Callum Scullion (0-1), Ciaran McQuillan (0-1), Cormac McFadden, Peter Cullen, Rory Mullan, Eoghan McGrath (0-1), Oisin McErlane (0-1), Colla McDonnell (1-0), Anton McGrath, Seann Elliott (1-3 frees).
Subs : Patrick Kinsella for P Cullen (41), Eoghan Daly for O McErlaine (48)
Referee : Eamon Hasson