Newry MacRory derby had everything

December 01, 2019

Danske Bank MacRory Cup

St Colman’s College 1-12 Abbey Grammar 3-6
By Gareth McCullough at Páirc Esler

Four goals, four red cards and stoppage time drama aplenty. Just a regulation clash between fierce Newry rivals St Colman’s College and the Abbey Grammar then.
When the two sides meet, there is generally plenty to talk about and Saturday morning in Pairc Esler proved to be no different.
While there were flashes of high-quality football on show, the excitement levels were raised to 10 as both sides jostled with each other for the entire 60-plus minutes, with neither being able to land the knockout blow – figuratively speaking.
St Colman’s may well feel hard done by, given that one of the umpires, and subsequently Referee Sean Laverty, gave wide when Andrew Gilmore’s left footed point sailed inside the right-hand post two minutes into stoppage time at the end of the game. There is absolutely no doubt that the ball had gone between the posts and it would have put the College two clear.
However, the Abbey reduced the deficit to one with a free seconds later before finding the back of the net for the third time six minutes into time added on. Amazingly, there was still time for St Colman’s to pluck a draw from proceedings as they went straight up the pitch to score their only goal of the game with the last action of a rip-roaring encounter.
Both sides finished with 13 men, with a player apiece dismissed for an unsavoury brawl that involved every player on the pitch as well as both sets of subs early in the second half.
Abbey’s Rory Foster and St Colman’s Ronan Fitzpatrick were shown straight red cards for their part in the melee, which arrived just seconds after Sean O’Hare been sent off following a high tackle on Abbey’s John McGovern in the corner. To even matters up, Abbey’s Rory Kearney had to take an early bath following a second bookable offence on 58 minutes.
In terms of the actual football, it was a hugely open affair with the Violet Hill School opening the scoring through a fourth minute Gilmore free.
After McGovern and Cian McLoughlin traded scores, Gilmore made it 0-3 to 0-1 in favour of St Colman’s before Abbey star McGovern showed his searing pace to cut in from the left and fire home the opening goal of the game in the tenth minute.
St Colman’s hit back to score three of the next four points courtesy of McLoughlin, Adam Crimmins and a Gilmore free with only Drew McVerry (free) replying for the Abbey in the interim.
However, just like earlier, Abbey hit back to regain the lead with McVerry knocking over a second free before the same player found the net to make it 2-3 to 0-6 in his side’s favour six minutes before the short whistle. Two points from play from McLoughlin then left it a one-point game at the break to set up an intriguing second period.
James Ruddy converted a free seconds before that aforementioned brawl broke out and one it had died down, Gilmore (free) and Sean Campbell traded scores as Abbey maintained their two-point lead, 2-5 to 0-9, before they had a chance to extend it to five just shy of the midway stage of the half.
Another lightning run from John McGovern saw him race clear on goal and though he could have shot himself, he opted to off-load to Sean Rock, but his low drive was well saved by the legs of St Colman’s keeper Patrick McAteer. Murtagh
Another Gilmore free, a placed ball from Jack Murtagh and a drive point from Liam Fearon left the College one in front going into stoppage time before the ‘point that never was’ two minutes in.
McVerry then drew the sides level once more with a 65th minute free before the Abbey wen three clear when McGovern linked up with Sean Conlan to tee up Niall Toner to palm to the net and make it Abbey 3-6 to 0-12 with only seconds of stoppage time remaining.
But there was a twist in the tale still to come, as St Colman’s went straight down the other end with Crimmins’ long looping ball superbly palmed to the net, despite having his back to goal, by Eamon Brown with the referee’s whistle sounding almost instantly.

St Colman’s College: Eamon Brown (1-0), Cian McLoughlin (0-4), Andrew Gilmore (0-5, 4f), Adam Crimmins (0-1), Jack Murtagh (0-1, free), Liam Fearon (0-1)

Abbey Grammar: Drew McVerry (1-2, 1f), John McGovern (1-1), Niall Toner (1-0), James Ruddy (0-2, both frees), Sean Campbell (0-1)