St Colman’s reach 27th MacRory Cup final

February 24, 2017

Danske Bank MacRory Cup semi-final

From Kevin Kelly in Athletic Grounds

St Colman’s Newry 0-14 St Ronan’s Lurgan 0-8

St Colman’s Newry are through to their first Danske Bank MacRory Cup final since 2011 after a deserved six points’ success over MacCormack Cup winners St Ronan’s Lurgan at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh last night.

After a close opening ten minutes when the sides shared half a dozen points it was St Colman’s who took control with Rian O’Neill producing a man of the match performance.

The Crossmaglen man weighed in with half a dozen points in the first half and every time that he gained possession he caused panic in the St Ronan’s defence as they established a 0-9 to 0-4 advantage.

St Ronan’s had the first score of the second period but when they had Kevin McAlinden straight red carded in the 47th minute any hopes that they had of a comeback faded.

The winners defended as if their lives depended on it not giving their opponents a sniff of a goal that they badly needed to reignite their challenge.

O’Neill opened the scoring after only thirty five seconds from a free but St Ronan’s levelled matters in the fourth minute with a superb effort from play from wing half back Adam Loughran.

O’Neill then hit a brilliant effort from play that went over via the post before he was involved in a score from Jack McCartan.

St Ronan’s though then enjoyed their best spell of the half as Tiernan Kelly hit a brilliant point despite being under pressure before Kevin McAlinden equalised from an acute angle.

They failed to score for another quarter of an hour though as St Colman’s took control. Aaron Gribben pointed from play and that was quickly followed from a long range O’Neill free.

St Ronan’s were then dealt a blow when they lost keeper Eoghan Mulholland to a black card with O’Neill knocking over the resulting 13m free. St Ronan’s midfielder Conor Turbitt then ended their barren spell but that proved to be their last score of the half.

In the 28th minute Cian McConville got in behind the Lurgan defence but he blasted over the bar when a goal was on the cards. O’Neill knocked over another placed ball before Eoghan McDonnell fired narrowly wide of the left hand post with a goal chance. Fittingly that man O’Neill had the final say of the half with a spectacular point from distance.

Aodhan McConville opened the second half scoring for St Ronan’s from a close in free but that was as good as it got for them. Cian McConville replied for the winners before Aaron Gribben weighed in with a beauty from play with the outside of his boot.

Six points divided the sides at that stage and with McAlinden receiving his marching orders there was no way back for St Ronan’s. O’Neill kicked his only score of the second half before McConville teed up midfielder Conor O’Neill to split the posts.

Full back James McAlinden joined the attack to register for St Ronan’s and Kelly added two late frees but it was St Colman’s night with substitute Eoghan Byrne getting their last score.

St Colman’s Newry: M Magill, L Brown, S McCarthy, C Killen, F McElroy, M Branniff, P Fegan, C O’Neill (0-1), R Garvey, J McCartan (0-1), R O’Neill (0-7, 5f), E McDonnell, M McCreesh, C McConville (0-2, 1f), A Gribben (0-2).

Subs: E Byrne (0-1) for McCreesh, C McCartan for Gribben, J McKee for Brown

St Ronan’s Lurgan: E Mulholland, J Haddock, J McAlinden (0-1), A Mulholland, R McConville, S McAlinden, A Loughran (0-1), B McCambridge, C Turbitt (0-1), R Meehan, T Kelly (0-3, 2f), J Haughey, K McAlinden (0-1), J Lenehan, A McConville (0-1, 1f).

Subs: E McConville for Mulholland (black card), O Smyth for R McConville, L Monteiro for Haughey, O Magill for Meehan, O Magee for A McConville

Referee: S Hurson, Tyrone