St Mary’s come up just short in Hogan semi

March 23, 2017

Masita GAA All-Ireland Post-Primary Schools Football Hogan Cup Semi-Final

St Peter’s College, Wexford 2-10 St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt 2-9

By Colm Shalvey at Páirc Grattan, Inniskeen for Irish News

St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt fell just short with a late comeback in yesterday’s Hogan Cup semi-final against St Peter’s College, Wexford at Páirc Grattan, Inniskeen.

Despite having trailed by seven points with just five minutes of normal time remaining, first-time MacRory Cup winners St Mary’s hit an unanswered 1-3 to set up an exciting finish to this fine contest. With eight players on the scoresheet, however, the Wexford side held on to advance by the narrowest of margins.

St Peter’s settled quickly with the wind at their backs, helped by early points from Brian Deeney (a long-range effort) and Dylan Furlong. St Mary’s worked their way into the game well, with Kevin Small opening their account via a fine score from play. Small converted a free for a foul on Tiarnach Donaghy, whose midfield partner Kealan McCann then edged St Mary’s ahead.

Tiernan McAteer doubled the Derry school’s lead, while St Peter’s were wasteful at the other end, particularly when Barry O’Connor missed a scoreable free and Dylan Lyne had a pass intercepted; ending an attack that threatened to produce a goal.

Quinn Saunders ended 14 scoreless minutes for the Leinster champions, who quickly drew level through Barry O’Connor, before St Mary’s goalkeeper Odhrán Lynch did well to deny Deeney. St Peter’s pushed ahead thanks to Rory O’Connor, who then set up Lyne for another point. O’Connor and Lyne were again involved, along with Conor Firman, in a flowing move that released Ben Moore for a point, before Cathal Devereux made it six without reply.

McAteer got one back for St. Mary’s after a smart one-two with Aidan Connolly, but they were hit with a hammer blow right on half-time when Finn O’Driscoll and Lyne combined to release Saunders, who drilled a low shot past Lynch to give St Peter’s a 1-8 to 0-5 advantage.

Connolly was off-target from a great chance after he had been set up by Small, who then got on the end of a move led by Éamonn Kelly and Liam Quinn to kick-start the St Mary’s challenge with a goal. A Cormac Murphy point closed the gap to two, but St. Peter’s regained the initiative in some style on 40 minutes when a Rory O’Connor piledriver flew into the top corner of the net.

Devereux added a brace of fine points (one from a free), but a tense finish would follow for St Peter’s, who failed to score in the last 14 minutes, with David O’Keeffe firing their best chance wide. A Murphy goal and two points in quick succession by Quinn gave the Magherafelt school renewed hope, while Lynch made a great save from Devereux at the other end to keep it alive.

Small, who had played a part in all three of the previous scores, took his own tally to 1-3 via an added-time free, after O’Driscoll had been black-carded for pulling Declan Cassidy down, but there was no late equaliser.

St Mary’s manager Kevin Brady acknowledged that his team “had simply left ourselves with too much to do” after falling so far behind and admitted that they had been let down by “making mistakes they hadn’t been making in previous games”.

First-time Hogan Cup finalists St Peter’s will face holders St Brendan’s, Killarney at Croke Park on Saturday week (April 1).

St Peter’s College, Wexford: R Ryan; E O’Leary, B Maddock, D O’Keeffe; Q Saunders (1-1), C Firman, F O’Driscoll; B Deeney (0-1), R O’Connor (1-1); D Furlong (0-1), B Moore (0-1), P Barry; D Lyne (0-1), B O’Connor (0-1), C Devereux (0-3, 1f).

Subs: M Codd for Saunders (39), D Goulson for Lyne (60).

Black card: F O’Driscoll, replaced by A Breen (61).

St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt: O Lynch; S Kelly, C McCluskey, M Loughran; É Kelly, C Devlin, C Murphy (1-1); K McCann (0-1), T Donaghy; D Cassidy, S McErlain, L Quinn (0-2); A Connolly, K Small (1-3, 0-2f), T McAteer (0-2).

Subs: J McCann for C McCann (38), M Rodgers for Connolly (49), C Donnelly for Donaghy (53), S Devlin for Loughran (57).

Yellow cards: T Donaghy (52), S Kelly (53).

Referee: John Hickey (Carlow).