St Mary’s strike late to sink Red High

Danske Bank Foresters Cup Quarter-final

St. Marys 5-16-2-15 Red High, Downpatrick

From Kevin Herron at Woodlands

St. Mary’s CBGS were staring down the barrel of a quarter-final elimination from the Forester’s Cup this afternoon but 3-02 without reply in the final six-minutes saw last season’s Leonard Cup winners overcome the tricky examination set by Red High, Downpatrick – with a 5-16 to 2-15 win at Woodlands.

It was a truly thrilling contest of hurling throughout the sixty minutes that was level at the break- despite Diarmaid Rogan hitting the net early-on.

Dubhaltach Wilson conjured up a second goal almost ten minutes into the second half but Tom McGrattan gave Red High a lifeline and Oisin Coulter struck a second goal – which nudged his side in front.

St. Mary’s didn’t press the panic button though as Wilson, Ruairi Devlin and Adam Churchill all found the net late-on to ensure their side took their place in the last four of the competition.

On breezy day at Woodlands it was St. Mary’s who hit the front through a converted free from captain Fionn Mervyn.

But Red High- playing with the wind advantage in the first-half- replied through Tiernan Connolly and then led through a point from midfielder Michael Dorrian.

Back to back Adam Churchill points an angled effort from Pearse Short had their side 0-04-0-02 to the good- though Fearghal McManus struck two excellent points to level by the 10th minute.

The opening goal arrived 11 minutes in, Fionn Mervyn’s free was claimed by Dubhaltach Wilson- who fizzed a cross that was volleyed past Rossa McGrath by Diarmaid Rogan to make it 1-04-0-04.

The next eight scores were traded between the sides- Conor Leneghan and Dubhaltach Wilson exchanged points in the aftermath of Rogan’s goal. Rogan would extend his sides lead, only for Michael Dorrian to conjure up his second score of the half.

Conor Boyle and Adam Churchill twice opened up a four-point advantage- though on both occasions it was Tom McGrattan who replied instantly, the first from a converted free and the second from play.

Red High could have hit the net themselves but McGrattan was denied by Caoimhin Duffy- the St. Paul’s youngster pulling off a terrific save.

Free-takers McGrattan and Wilson did the business fort their sides again and back to back scores from McGrattan (free) and Ferghal Casey reduced arrears to a single point (1-09-0-11).

An inspirational Conor Boyle point looked to have given St. Mary’s a two-point lead at the interval, but McGrattan took his half-time tally to 0-06 with successive scores to ensure it was level pegging at the midway point.

McGrattan missed the opportunity to add to his and Red High’s tally at the beginning of the second half and Dubhaltach Wilson didn’t pass up two of his early second half frees- opening up a two-point gap again.

Ben McCauley added a point in the aftermath and on 39 minutes a superb catch at midfield from Diarmaid Rogan supplied Wilson with a goal opportunity and the St Galls forward cut in at the by-line and drew Rossa McGrath from his line before batting to the corner of the net to give his side a 2-16-0-13 lead.

Tom McGrattan and Diarmaid Rogan traded points in aftermath and midway through the second-half Red High threw themselves a lifeline.

McGrattan was slipped in around 20-yards from goal and he rifled past Caoimhin Duffy to half the deficit.

Niall Fallon hit the side netting soon after and was crowded out after nipping in to claim possession in-between McGrattan converting a free to close the deficit to two with ten minutes to play.

The game was very much on a knife-edge and with 6-minutes to play Red High hit the front for the first time since the 4th minute.

A scramble in the area saw the ball fall to Oisin Coulter and Coulter flicked the ball past Duffy to nudge his side 2-15-2-14 ahead.

St. Mary’s didn’t hit the panic button however and levelled through a Dubhaltach Wilson free.

Within thirty-seconds of landing the equalising score Wilson claimed his second goal of the game with a delightful high shot into the roof of the net after going through one-on-one with McGrath.

Substitute Ruairi Devlin then pointed from a Wilson cut-back and put the game to bed with a goal sixty-seconds later.

The scoring was complete in added time as referee Paddy Tumelty signalled for a penalty after a foul on Devlin.

Diarmaid Rogan saw his effort saved by McGrath but Dubhaltach Wilson pulled the ball across and Adam Churchill rifled to an empty net to give St. Mary’s a 5-16-2-15 win – a harsh score line on Red High- who performed exceptionally.

 St. Mary’s CBGS: C Duffy, P Moyes, S Hughes, M McCluskey, F Mervyn (0-01f), N McGarry, P Short (0-01), E McBriarity, C Boyle (0-02), A Churchill (1-03), B McCauley (0-01), D Rogan (1-02), D Wilson (2-05, 0-04f), N Fallon, R Morgan. Subs: R Devlin (1-01) for M McCluskey (HT); M McCluskey for S Hughes (51).

Red High, Downpatrick: R McGrath, O McGrattan, A Rogan, S Mageean, C Lenaghan (0-01), R O’Neill, J Ruddy, F Turpin, M Dorrian (0-02), L McCabe, T McGrattan (1-08, 0-06f), T Connolly (0-01), F Casey (0-01), O Coulter (1-00), F McManus (0-02).

Referee: Paddy Tumelty (Lamh Dhearg)

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