Danske Bank Gallagher Cup final
Monday 2pm in Ballymena
St Mary’s Belfast v Cross & Passion Ballycastle
It’s a straight-forward shoot-out between two unbeaten teams this (MONDAY) afternoon (2pm, Ballymena) for the Danske Bank Gallagher Cup.
Neither St Mary’s Belfast nor Cross & Passion Ballycastle were considered front-runners for the title this year – Maghera and St Killian’s had met in each of the Gallagher and MacNamee Cup finals last year and shared the spoils.
However this term, Maghera were well off the pace, while St Killian’s lost out by two points to Cross & Passion in a league game and by five to St Mary’s in the semi-final ten days ago.
Indeed St Mary’s, who were playing against the second half-breeze, had their lead cut to a single point with just over ten minutes to play, but had the character to pull away with Darragh Murphy slotting over two frees and Liam Carr firing over a couple of late points.
This pair and Conor Boyle were the cutting edge of a solid team performance that saw Dualtach Wilson, Ruairí Murray and Caolán Ó Duifín comfortable in defence and Pól McLaughlin and Eoin Trainor strong in the middle.
Trainor is captain of the Rossa team that will represent the county next weekend in the All-Ireland Féile and he has quite a number of his club-mates in the St Mary’s team. Throw in Marcus Toner, captain of the Davitt’s team that won the B Féile and a couple of others like Ó Duifín from St Paul’s and Lámh Dhearg defender Daniel Murray and it is a formidable enough line-up.
Cross and Passion picked up Michael O’Boyle from last year’s St Killian’s MacNamee winning side and he has been very useful in terms of overall work-rate and as a heavy scorer.
However the re-shuffle of the team a fortnight ago in the aftermath of a leg-break for centre-half back Enda óg McGarry sees the Glenarriffe sharp-shooter now out in midfield alongside the impressive Rian McMullan – further away from the area in which he is most dangerous.
O’Boyle has already won a Foresters’ Cup medal with CPC, alongside McGarry and McMullan, but it is difficult seeing them overcome the loss of McGarry to add a second medal to the collection inside a couple of months.
Nevertheless Dylan Devlin settled in well at centre-back against St Louis Ballymena in the semi-final in Loughgiel and Conall McGlynn and Reuben McClean hurled with vigour around him. However they will face a very different forward-line in St Mary’s.
Even with a fit McGarry, it looked like a big ask of CPC to take out this St Mary’s side, who appear strong in both defence and attack. It looks like St Mary’s to lose.
St Mary’s: Aodh Mullan, Ruairi Murray, Dualtach Wilson, Ben McAuley, Dylan Magee, Caolan Ó Duifin, Dan Murray, Eoin Trainor, Pol McLaughlin, Dara Murphy, Jay Burns, Conor Boyle, Liam Carr, Niall Fallon, Marcas Toner
Subs:Ciaran McShane, Mick McDaid, Rory Hunter, Aaron Carey, Finn Mervyn, Niall McGarry, Barry McBurney, Anton Loughlin, James Sloan
Cross & Passion : Kevin McAuley (Loughgiel), Ruairi McCormick (Loughgiel), Conall McGlynn (Naomh Padraig), Jack McGowan (Ballycastle), Reuben McClean (Ballycastle), Dylan Devlin (Loughgiel), Conlith McKinley (Naomh Padraig), Rian McMullan (Loughgiel), Michael O’Boyle Glenarriff), Conor O’Mullan (Loughgiel), Eunan Laverty (Loughgiel), Christy McGarry (Loughgiel), Oisin Elliot (Dunloy), Cailin O’Connor (Ballycastle), Damien Quinn (Loughgiel)
Subs : Peter Mullan (Naomh Padraig), Tiernan McCaughan (Loughgiel), Cormac Doherty (Loughgiel), Christy McAuley (Ballycastle), James Bakewell (Ballycastle), Tadhg Donnelly (Ballycastle)