Six of the best from Convent sink Maghera in MacRory

February 25, 2018

Danske Bank MacRory Cup semi-final
St Mary’s Magherafelt 6-7 St Patrick’s Maghera 1-13
From Séamas McAleenan in Páirc Seán de Brún Bellaghy
If you concede three goals in the first half, you certainly should make sure you don’t concede three in the second.
St Patrick’s Maghera were not able to learn from their defensive frailties in the opening half of yesterday’s Danske Bank MacRory Cup semi-final and paid the price against a confident, hungry St Mary’s Magherafelt who now get the opportunity to put together back-to-back titles.
The south Derry derby attracted 3,500 to Bellaghy delaying the throw-in by almost 15 minutes, but the holders were quickly out of the blocks, Cormac Murphy winning a penalty after 10 seconds of play.
Daniel Bradley hit it low to the ‘keeper’s right, but that score ignited Maghera and they hit four points in a row over the next ten minutes with quick, long low balls into Alex Doherty and Lorcan McWilliams in front of goals.
However as the first half wore on, Magherafelt shored up that route with Ciaran Doyle at sweeper and Conall Devlin and Bradley dropping back to pick up possession off the impressive Tiarnach Donaghy in the middle, and Maghera were on the back foot.
Maghera led 0-5 to 1-1 when in the 18th minute an intricate passing move ended with Tiarnach Donaghy tapping in from close range. Goal No 3 arrived in the 24th minute, a high ball in from Jamie McCann was bundled over the line by Liam Quinn and the Convent turned over at 3-2 to 0-7 having played against the breeze.
Although Lorcán McWilliams pointed a free on the re-start, St Mary’s walked in a fourth goal with Tiarnach Donaghy punching it home from close range in the 34th minute.
Quinn added a point, before a pivotal moment, defender James Crawford collecting his second yellow card in six minutes and St Mary’s were down to 14 players. Yet they hit back with a soccer-style goal finished by Simon McErlain in the 42nd minute to go 5-3 to 0-10 clear.
Maghera had plenty of possession for the last 20 minutes but Magherafelt were very tight at the back, with the 53rd minute penalty slotted home by Alex Doherty their only concern.
Maghera had closed the gap to four points in the 58th minute, but St Mary’s finished strongly, a point from sub Connor O’Neill, followed immediately by a walk in goal for Cormac Murphy and a huge free on the side-line from Tiarnan McAteer.
St Mary’s: O Lynch; C Doyle, G Lupari, L óg McElhone; J Crawford, S McErlain 1-0, J McCann; R Keenan, T Donaghy 1-0; D Bradley 1-3, 1-0 pen, 0-3 frees, T McAteer 0-2, 0-1 free, C Devlin; L Quinn 1-1, C Murphy 1-0, J McErlain.
Subs: D McAteer for D Bradley (46), A McCluskey for R Keenan (53), C O’Neill 0-1 for L Quinn
St Patrick’s Maghera: N McNicholl, T McCusker, T Walsh, C McShane 0-1, D McNicholl, O McGill, P McLaughlin, O McWilliams, J McAtamney 0-1 free, E Mulholland, R Mullan, D McLaughlin, A Doherty 1-4, 1-0 pen, L McWilliams 0-7, 0-6 frees, T McHugh.
Subs: E Hawe for T McCusker (HT), E Doherty for T McHugh (38), PJ McAleese for E Mulholland (47)
Referee : S Hurson (Tyrone)