McBride stars in Foresters’ final

April 07, 2017

Danske Bank Foresters’ Cup final

Cross & Passion Ballycastle 1-15 St Louis Ballymena 1-12

An excellent start to the second half helped Cross and Passion Ballycastle immensely in eclipsing this derby Danske Bank Foresters’ Cup final in Cloughmills yesterday afternoon.

Ryan Hill pointed a free from 45 metres and Michael McGarry quickly added a second point. Then in the 34th minute the pair combined to send livewire corner-forward Conor McBride through for a goal.

Those three scores put the eventual winners 1-13 to 0-6 clear of St Louis Ballymena, but more importantly it slowed up the latter’s attempts to get going with wind-assistance during the second half.

As he had done earlier in the week Seaan Elliott threatened to beat Ballycastle on his own, the Dunloy forward accumulating 10 points over the hour, although crucially none of these came from open play.

He broke through on several occasions, most notably just before the break and again 11 minutes into the second half and had the pace to pull away from the chasing defenders, but he carried the sliotar into the tackle and the goal chance was lost.

Nevertheless when he gained possession there was heightened expectation around the ground.

His defence did reasonably well, particularly after the break, but in the ten minutes before it Conor McBride finished off good Ballycastle moves with well-taken points and in hindsight it opened the game up for them.

Although CPC opened well with the first four points including a pair for full-forward Ryan McFarline, St Louis and Seaan Elliott had slowed them up and they led by just 0-6 to 0-5 from Elliott after 20 minutes.

Ahead by 0-11 to 0-6 at the break, the early second half onslaught doubled the gap between the sides by the 34th minute.

When St Louis eventually got going they ate into the lead with a series of Elliott frees and singles from Oisin McErlean and Ruairi Mullan, while Michael McGarry split the Ballymena posts in reply.

But time was running out on St Louis – until Eoin Daly pounced on a long ball and kicked the sliotar to the net for 1-14 to 1-12 score-line with three minutes of playing time left.

However Ballycastle hit back with Conor McBride shooting his sixth point of the game, a score to give them breathing space and one that also delivered the Player of the Match award, just ahead of team colleagues Oisin McAuley and Tiarnan McGlynn and the mercurial Seaan Elliot for St Louis.

Cross & Passion: R McAllister, C Donnelly, T McGlynn, E óg NcGarry, S McAuley, O McAuley capt., C Hargan, R Hill 0-3 frees, C Butler, M McGarry 0-3, E O’Hara, P Boyle, C McBride 1-6, R McFarline 0-2, R McMullan 0-1.

Subs : M O’Boyle for P Boyle (39), S Brogan for R McMullan (53).

St Louis : A Mooney, C Mooney, E McCusker, R McCloskey, E McGrath, C McFadden, R McCann, Shane O’Boyle, E Daly 1-0, P McGilligan 0-1, S O’Neill, O McErlean 0-1, R Mullan 0-1, S Elliott 0-9 frees, D McCloskey.

Subs : C McQuillan for R McCann (45), J McCoy for R Mullan (45), C McGarry for D McCloskey (53).

Referee : Sean McGuigan (Slaughtneil)