St Pius X into first MacLarnon final in a decade

March 03, 2020

Danske Bank MacLarnon Cup quarter-final

St Pius X Magherafelt 0-17 Loreto Milford 2-8
A SECOND coming from a dominant St Pius X Magherafelt was enough to book their place in the Danske Bank MacLarnon Cup final at the expense of a fancied Loreto Milford at Owenbeg last night.
Padraig O’Kane’s men bossed the game from start to finish but a second goal form Matthew McLaughlin sparked a Milford revival.
The Donegal men still trailed 0-13 to 2-4 but points from Liam McGrenaghan, Ciaran Moore and a Bobby McGettigan equaliser had the game back in the mix again after 55 minutes.
However Darragh Wade slotted over, with the hint of goal on, to put St Pius back into the lead.
Dara Martin then kicked two points but was sent off on a second booking but St Pius X remained in control, Joe McElkennon and Conor McAteer adding late scores to give the Derry side a deserved win.
Donegal U20 player Rory O’Donnell was star man on the Milford team but it was St Pius who ruled the roost. Shea Coleman and Shane McGrogan battled for everything, with Joe McElkennon also strong in the midfield diamond.
Behind midfield, Iarlaith Donaghy and Michael Forbes were another attacking wave to keep their team pushing on.
It was point for point in the opening quarter, with the sides level, 0-3 each, after 16 minutes. However St Pius threatened to kick themselves out of it with six wides during the same dominant spell.
Goalkeeper Ryan Graham came to Milford’s with a full length save to deny Shea Coleman and later he got his angles right to deny the same player in a goalmouth scramble.
A superb move, started by wing-back Martin, saw Wade put St Pius into the lead before Milford struck for goal, with McLaughlin slotting home after a run by Ciaran Moore.
The Derry men replied with points from Wade and Martin to keep them in touch, 0-6 to 1-4 at the break.
Milford had the first attack of the second half but then it was total dominance from Magherafelt who hit seven points on the bounce, with Joe McElkennon strong under the high ball. McAteer (3), Wade (2), Forbes and Martin were all on target for them in the third quarter.
It took 19 minutes for Milford to get another attack but when a McGrenaghan free dropped short and wasn’t cleared, McLaughlin slammed to the net to ignite the Milford fightback.
However it wasn’t enough and St Pius join MacRory finalists St Patrick’s Maghera on St Patrick’s Day in Armagh hoping to make it a Derry day out.

St Pius X : C McAteer (0-7, 5frees), D Wade (0-5), D Martin (0-2), M Doherty, M Forbes (free) and J McElkennon (0-1 each).
Milford : M McLaughlin (2-0), J McGroddy (0-2, 1f), C Moore (0-2), R O’Donnell, L McGrenaghan (free), A Reid (free) and B McGettigan (0-1 each)

St Pius: Callum Lagan; Matthew Rocks, Conor Devlin, Mark McGeehan; Dara Martin (0-2), Iarlaith Donaghy, Michael Forbes (0-1f); Shea Coleman, Shane McGrogan; James McClure, Joe McElkennon (0-1), Mark Doherty (0-1), Conor McAteer (0-7, 5f), Darragh Wade (0-5), Dara Quinn.

Milford: Ryan Graham; Dylan Dorrian, Tiernan McBride, Dean McBride; Eoin O’Donnell, Conor Coll, Conor Black; Bobby McGettigan (0-1), Rory O’Donnell (0-1); Aaron Reid (0-1), Ciaran Moore (0-2), Stephen Black; Johnny McGroddy (0-2, 1f), Matthew McLaughlin (2-0), Liam McGrenaghan (0-1f).
Subs: Evan Colman for A Reid (40), Kyle McFadden for Stephen Black (40).

REF: Martin Conroy (Moy).