O’Brien goal key as Bessbrook make semi

February 07, 2020

Danske Bank MacLarnon Cup quarter-final
St Paul’s Bessbrook 1-10 Our Lady’s Castleblayney 0-11

A GOAL just before the break for St Paul’s Bessbrook was probably the key score in this closely contested Danske Bank MacLarnon Cup quarter-final in Silverbridge.

Up until that point Our Lady’s Castleblayney were well set up to take advantage of the breeze in the second half but Rory O’Brien’s strike, quickly followed by a point from Conor Kavannagh opened the gap from two to six points and it allowed Bessbrook’s disciplined and well-organised defence the space to hold out.

St Paul’s twin threats of Caolán Laverty and Caolán Reavey accounted for five points in the opening half with goalie Shay Magill stroking over a long distance free for the second successive week.

Declan Courtney scored two of Our Lady’s four points against the breeze and they trailed 1-7 to 0-4 at the turn-over.

Courtney and goalie Ciaran Duffy from a 45 reduced the gap on the re-start before Reavey responded with a Bessbrook point in the 42nd minute. But Castleblayney further reduced the deficit with scores from Stephen Mooney, Jason Duffy and Joey Hughes.

Significantly Tony O’Callaghan added a Bessbrook point from a pressure free with six minutes left. Courtney had an opening for a goal a couple of minutes later, but blasted over, while Shay Magill turned another goal-bound effort around the post to maintain the two points’ advantage for St Paul’s.

O’Callaghan, Jack Cunningham, Lee Rice and Magill were outstanding for the winners although their discipline at the back was a key element in Bessbrook’s success while Courtney, Shay and Jason Duffy and Gavin McSkeane did most to keep Castleblayney in the competition.

St Paul’s Bessbrook are now in the semi-final draw which will take place along with the draw for the MacRory Cup semi-finals in the Athletic Grounds on Wednesday evening.

St Paul’s : S Magill (0-1 free), D Conlon, R Short, S Finnegan, C Kavanagh (0-1), T O’Callaghan (0-1 free), G Murphy, R O’Brien (1-0), S McVerry, R Magee, J Cunningham (0-1), C Laverty (0-2), C Reavey (0-4, 0-3 free3), L Rice, O King
Subs : A Cunningham for O King, E Woods for C Laverty, O Caulfield for C Reavey

Our Lady’s : C Duffy (0-1 free), S Callan, G McSkeane, S Duffy, BJ Grimley, D McMahon, G Quinn, C Eccles, R McGlynn, J Hughes (0-1), D Courtney (0-4), J Duffy (0-1), S Mooney (0-3, 0-1 free), A Blanche, J Mone (0-1)
Subs : C Markey for A Blanche, E Gorman for G Quinn, S Hamill for D McMahon

Referee : Martin Conroy (Tyrone)