Bunscoil Phobal Feirste 4-2
St Michael’s 2-6
A large crowd was in attendance on to witness a pulsating classic played out between two excellent sides.
The Shaw’s Road Gaels settled quicker and dominated all the early exchanges in the soaring heat at Musgrave Park. Their commanding half back line of Coleman & Mc Coy seized control of the game and this dominance was rewarded with 3 early goals as the St Michael’s goalmouth came under sustained attack.
The South Belfast side soon settled with Captain Ben Christie winning his fair share of possession around centre field & Finbar Blaney creating problems in the attack. This proved to be their best period of the game as the Bunscoil Phobal Feirste rear guard came under prolonged attack. St Michael’s soon began chipping away at the Antrim school’s lead with a series of well taken points. The dogged determination of Bunscoil’s Oisín Cusack in defence ensured that St Michael’s failed to raise a green flag in the first half. Goalkeeper Sheá Doran deserves particular praise for some excellent saves and a great catch under pressure, during this phase.
As the half drew to a close a well worked poc out saw Keevan Taylor Grieve win a free after some direct running. Keevan converted the free and stretched the Bunscoil lead to 3-1 to 0-4 at HT.
St Michael’s began the second half with renewed vigor & laid siege on the Bunscoil Phobal Feirste goal and they were soon rewarded as they registered 1-1 on the scoreboard. The West Belfast Gaeilgeoirí continued to press forward, with some great work from Mc Laughlin and Mc Donnell, yet their search for that much needed insurance score continued to evade them.
BPF 3-1 St Michael’s 1-5
With a minute to go St Michael’s resorted to long ball tactics in search of a late winner. This tactic paid dividends when a long delivery from Christie was diverted into the Bunscoil net sending the Ravenhill road side a point ahead and their vocal support into rapturous applause.
The Bunscoil Phobal Feirste boys looked dejected, after having led for the entire game, they now found themselves a point behind with only seconds on the clock. With what proved to be the last poc out of normal time Bunscoil’s Gareth Mc Burney-Hegarty managed to switch a quick short ball across the field to the industrious Shea Burns. Burns quickly turned his man and popped the sliotar to Lorcan Mc Callin who in turn spotted Dáire Maguire running off his shoulder and laid a beautiful hand pass into his path. Maguire broke the St Michael’s defensive line and from 30m drove the ball over the bar to secure another 10minutes of hurling.
BPF 3-2 St Michael’s 2-5
As extra time commenced the tension around Musgrave Park was palpable. St Michael’s settled almost immediately & secured a quick point to take the lead. The pendulum had swung firmly in their favour and most people anticipated the Primate’s Cup would be heading back to County Down.
As the game entered the second period of extra time no side could register a score. It seemed that St Michael’s had finally done enough however the boys in green and yellow had saved their best until the end. The path to victory all started with a quick poc out to Burns who again managed to find Mc Callin, who, despite being crowded out by St Michael’s defenders, had the presence of mind to thread a beautifully weighted pass through to full foward Taylor-Grieve. As the attacker went to meet the ball the St Michael’s goalkeeper launched his body towards the sliotar. Thankfully for Bunscoil, their number 14 managed to get a quick flick on the sliotar and send it to the net. In scenes reminiscent of the great Offaly All Ireland final comeback of 1994 Bunscoil Phobal Feirste managed to upset the odds to win the Primate’s Cup in the dying embers of the game.