St Louis ease to Leonard victory

December 02, 2019

Danske Bank Leonard Cup final:
St Louis Ballymena 2-13 St Patrick’s Maghera 0-5
THE penalties awarded against St Louis Ballymena for taking down Eamon Cassidy twice during the opening ten minutes were key to the outcome of this Danske Bank Leonard Cup final in Ahoghill.
An excellent move down the centre resulted in a 5th minute goal from St Louis, Aidan McGarry’s long ball flicked down by Oisin McCamphill for Ronan McCollum to meet at full pace and drive to the net.
St Louis were now 1-2 to 0-1 ahead, McCollum scoring both points as well, and Maghera needed a response. Their opportunity came a minute later with a penalty, but Cassidy took it himself and blasted over.
A couple of minutes later the sliotar wasn’t dealt with properly in the Maghera area and McCamphill forced it home for a second goal for the Ballymena outfit.
Almost straight from the poc out, Cassidy won possession but was pulled down once more. He kept this penalty low, but Ciaran McQuillan killed it and cleared.
Although there were still 50 minutes to play, Maghera’s chance was gone and St Louis stepped up a gear to dominate the rest of the half although they led by just 2-7 to 0-3 at the turn around – McCollum hitting a magnificent 1-5.
He added a free on the re-start and Jack McCloskey took another point that could easily have been a goal before Adam McLoughlin pounced for two points inside 30 seconds.
But those two scores from the full-back on their successful Rannafast Cup winning team on Saturday failed to spark Maghera into life and there were just five more points during the remaining 25 minutes and McCollum claimed three of them, the best coming from right on the sideline in the 52nd minute to close the scoring.
Maghera’s first touch and striking were poor and they looked a pale shadow of the team that had dominated the same opposition in the Bank Gallagher Cup final just six months ago.
Fionn McEldowney was the only one to deliver a good performance while some others presented a physical presence that was lacking in sharpness.
It was the opposite from St Louis; their touch was good, and they were quick and sharp in most things they did, evident from the early scores from McCollum, McCamphill and Jack McCloskey that put them in charge of the tie.
Kevin O’Boyle did well in central defence while sweeper Pierce Patterson and full-back Fintan Brady did well to minimise the influence of Cassidy in front of goals and the result was in the bag for St Louis long before the final whistle.
St Louis : Ciaran McQuillan, Conor McMullan, Fintan Brady, Daire Martin, Connor Laverty, Kevin O’Boyle, Michael Traynor, Aodhan McGarry, Darragh Patterson, Pierce Patterson, Ronan McCollum (1-9, 0-6 frees), Tom McFerran, TP McGurk (0-1), Oisin McCamphill (1-0), Jack McCloskey (0-3).
Subs : Conor Duffin for TP McGurk (46), Reece Haveron for J McCloskey (59)
St Patrick’s : Fintan O’Connell, Tiarnan McCormick, Eoin Scullion (0-1 free), Fionn McEldowney, Dara McGurk, Adam McLoughlin (0-2), Aimon Duffin, Joseph McCullagh, Jack McGroarty, Matthew Mullan, Jack Dunne, Conal Bradley, Eamon Cassidy (0-2, 0-1 pen.), Niall Barton, Oisin McNicholl
Subs : Danny Mc Dermott for O McNicholl (HT), Fionn Bradley (0-1) for C Bradley (40), Conor Coyle for M Mullan (55), Teagan Bradley for J McCullagh (56).
Referee : Darren McDonnell (St Gall’s)