Rafferty proud to lead Bessbrook to Rafferty Cup

December 04, 2019

Danske Bank Rafferty Cup final

St Paul’s Bessbrook 2-10 Patrician Carrickmacross 1-6

ST PAUL’S Bessbrook won their first ever Danske Bank Rafferty Cup fairly comfortably yesterday in Cloghan, holding Patrician Carrickmacross scoreless for the first half.

St Paul’s coach John Rafferty was proud to have at last captured the trophy named after his grand uncle Fr Tom Rafferty.

“Fr Tom developed football in St Patrick’s Armagh in the first half of the last century bringing them a lot of success and I am proud that these boys have given me the opportunity to get my hands on this cup.

“The boys were fantastic today. It was their work off the ball that won the game as much as how they played the ball when they had possession.
“We stopped Patrician’s runners from breaking from half-back, tackled ferociously everywhere and in my mind we got our just deserts at the end.”
St Paul’s led by 1-7 to 0-0 at the break. There was a breeze-factor, but it was more cross-field and Bessbrook were better at playing the ball through the lines than their opponents with Aaron McArdle, Keagan Grant and Gareth Murphy prominent in defence, Fearghal O’Brien and Ross Magee getting through a mountain of work at midfield and Jack Collins, Andrew Cunningham and Piaras Woods a constant threat up front.

Patrician didn’t play poorly, more a case that they just didn’t get the opportunity to open up the play and probably only Ciaran Finnegan in the full-back line and Dylan Byrne posed any problems for the winners.
Collins picked off early points and when Cunningham drifted in to score a goal in the 13th minute making it 1-3 to 0-0, St Paul’s were in control and Collins, Cunningham and Woods added to that for an interval lead of 1-7 to 0-0.

Patrician needed a response and got it with a goal from Dylan Byrne within a minute of the re-start and a few points in a row from Cian Conlon and Byrne narrowed the gap to five points at one stage.

However both Bessbrook midfielders, O’Brien and Magee, responded with points and the Armagh school was back on track with Piaras Woods’ goal clinching victory.

There was however a late scare with a penalty award to Patrician, but Dylan Byrne’s shot was saved and any lingering hope of a Carrick smash-and-grab was gone.

St Paul’s : S McMullen, K Grant, A McArdle, R Keatings, J McClelland, G Murphy, C Kavanagh, R Magee (0-1), F O’Brien capt. (0-1), R O’Brien, J Collins (0-5, 0-1 free), P Woods (1-2), L Kelly, P McVerry, A Cunningham (1-2)
Subs used : D O’Neill, J McClelland, C Reavy.

Patrician : O Babington, C Finnegan, J Carolan, S Birdy, C Conlon (0-2), D Mee, P Farrelly, D Byrne (1-2, 0-2 frees), K McGahon, F Carolan, O Monahan, D Martin, D McConnell, J McKeever, D McCahey.

Subs used : K Duffy (0-1), G Finnegan (0-1), O McNally, C Burns, C Ruxton.
Referee : Martin Conroy (Tyrone)