St Louis edge MacLarnon thriller

February 02, 2019

Danske Bank MacLarnon Cup quarter-final
St Louis Ballymena 2-13 Our Lady’s Castleblayney 0-18 AET
ST Louis Ballymena had to win this Danske Bank MacLarnon Cup game twice in MUSA in Cookstown yesterday evening.
During the first half they pushed up on Our Lady’s Castleblayney and dominated the play and deserved to lead by 2-6 to 0-7 at the break although there was certainly a touch of luck about their second goal.
The mid-Antrim side hit the ground running and Seaan Elliott posted the opening point after just 20 seconds. Although Our Lady’s replied with a fine effort from David Irwin and again through Declan Courtney when Conor Stewarrt careered through for an excellent score, St Louis took the lead in the 7th minute through the other midfielder Peter Cullen and stayed ahead until the last play of injury-time in the second half.
After 8 minutes, a long ball into Eoghan Daly was fed off to Oisin Connolly who left Aidan Scullion with the easy task of finding the net from seven metres.
Castleblayney however slowed their progress and Robbie Hanratty posted two frees before Elliott got his second point in the 18th minute. 60 seconds later he hit the jack-pot. The Dunloy player seemed to overcarry on a mazy run towards the corner, but turned inside and his effort at a point somehow evaded the Monaghan defence and ended in the net.
By half-time Ballymena looked in a healthy lead at 2-6 to 0-7, but on the re-start Our Lady’s started to eat into it with two frees from Hanratty and a fine effort from Mark Mooney, their only score from open play for the rest of the game.
Conor Stewart added a point for Ballymena, but frees from Irwin and Hanratty brought the gap to the minimum entering the last quarter.
Elliott fisted a reply for St Louis and then added two frees. It looked enough to carry them over the line, but Jason Irwin kept his cool with three frees and then in the sixth minute of added time, Hanratty took responsibility for a free in the right corner. He hit the target and brought the game to extra time.
Scores were slow in the extra 20 minutes as players tired – two points each in the first period and just one score, the winning point, in the seventh minute of the second period from St Louis wing defender James McDonald to take them into this afternoon’s semi-final draw.
St Louis : C Brennan, A McGrath, E McCusker, C McQuillan, J McDonald (0-1), C Scullion, P Ferris, C Stewart (0-2), P Cullen (0-2), O Connolly, S Elliot (1-8, 0-7 frees), E McGrath, A Scullion (1-0), E Daly, D Dobbin
Subs : R McKillop for O Connolly (39), O McAtammey for P Cullen (67)
Our Lady’s : C Duffy, E Casey, D McMahon, J McAdam, S Hamill, C Callan, S Markey (0-1), M Mooney (0-1), R O’Reilly, R Hanratty (0-6 frees), D Courtney (0-1), J Hughes, J Mone, D Irwin (0-1), J Irwin (0-8, 0-7 frees)
Subs : C Mulligan for J McAdam (17), G Quinn for J Hughes (HT).
Referee : Mark O’Neill (Tyrone)