St Mary’s CBGS coast to Gallagher Cup

June 12, 2017

Danske Bank Gallagher Cup final

St Mary’s Belfast 3-17 Cross & Passion Ballycastle 1-10

St Mary’s CBGS Belfast are the new Danske Bank Gallagher Cup champions after dominating a very skilful and high-scoring final in Ballymena yesterday afternoon.

The Glen Road side played with the strong first half breeze to lead by 1-11 to 0-4 at the break. They also totted up eight wides during the first half, while the Cross & Passion defence worked extremely hard to stem the flow of attacks.

The strength of the breeze gave Ballycastle a fighting chance of getting back into the game – but they needed a big score soon – and that didn’t happen with Michael O’Boyle’s rasper from a 20 metres’ free saved on the line and Aodh Mullan pulling off another fine save from the Glenariffe player shortly after.

O’Boyle carried Ballycastle’s biggest threat after moving from midfield to full-forward, but he was well-policed by the St Mary’s defence who were physically stronger than the CPC forwards and able to carry the sliotar out of defence and build counter-attacks.

Caolán Ó Duifín and his half-back colleagues were strong throughout the game with Eoin Trainor getting through a huge amount of work at midfield. An indication of the potential up front can be gauged from the fact that eight different players made the score-board before the 23rd minute of the game.

St Mary’s opened strongly with four points in a row, the pick of them the first, from Conor Boyle. However Cross and Passion settled into the game and were only 0-6 to 0-2 down after 16 minutes.

A minute later however Kevin McAuley saved brilliantly after a strong run from Liam Carr, but Darragh Murphy was on hand to bat the re-bound home.

Although Michael O’Boyle responded with a good free into the breeze, St Mary’s hit five points, all from play, within four minutes to pull well clear.

Although Damien Quinn executed an excellent point from a difficult angle for Cross and Passion a minute before the break, St Mary’s were still ten ahead at the turnover.

Had O’Boyle’s goal efforts in the second and fourth minutes of the second half reached the net, this could have been a different game. Instead Darragh Murphy stretched St Mary’s lead from a free and a few minutes later Jay Burns’ ground shot across the goals fell kindly for Niall Fallon to fire home.

Conor O’Mullan brilliantly set O’Boyle up for a goal in response, but the city side’s lead never looked in danger and they withstood the pressure to strike 1-3 in the last five minutes of the half, substitute Michael McDaid taking his goal well just three minutes after coming into the action.

St Mary’s: A Mullan, D Wilson, P McLaughlin, B McAuley, D Magee, D Murray capt., C Ó Duifin 0-2, E Trainor 0-2, 0-1 free, R Murray 0-2, J Burns 0-3, 0-1 free, L Carr 0-1, M Toner 0-1, N Fallon 1-0, D Murphy 1-3, 0-1 free, C Boyle 0-3.

Sub: M McDaid 1-0 for N Fallon (45)

Cross & Passion : K McAuley, R McCormick, C McGlynn, J McGowan, R McClean, D Devlin 0-1 free, C McKinley, R McMullan 0-3, 0-1 free, M O’Boyle 1-3, 0-1 free, C O’Mullan, E Laverty, C McGarry, O Elliot 0-2, C O’Connor, D Quinn 0-1.

Referee : Vincent Boyle (Dunloy)