Danske Bank Nolan Cup semi-final
St. Patrick’s Ballymena 2-6
Trinity College Belfast 1-6
St. Patrick’s College Ballymena put the disappointment last year’s final behind them when they overcame the challenge of Trinity College Belfast in the Danske Bank Nolan Cup semi-final on Thursday. The same sides met in last year’s final in Castlesawson but the game was abandoned midway through the second half following an unseemly flare up with the Ballymena side leading by two points.
Thankfully there were no such nonsense this time around and in a tight game it was St. Patrick’s who held their nerve to emerge victorious by three points.
Despite playing with the breeze in the first half the Broughshane Road side looked in a bit of trouble when they trailed by a point at the interval but they produced a controlled game of football for the second half, working the ball up the pitch and biding their time for a shot at target.
A goal from Aaron Marrs proved the difference in the end as St. Patrick’s got on top of their Belfast opponents and they were determined not to let this one slip as they went on to control the remainder of the contest.
The Ballymena defence was well marshalled by Dawid Piwowarski and Ryan Martin in front of Jason Givens who brought off an excellent stop midway through the half to keep his side ahead. Up front Cory Little and Cal O’Brien were always a threat for St. Patrick’s.
Sean Hagans, McCarthy, Sean Óg Gallagher and Paul Donnelly all played well for Trinity especially during the first half by the end of which a goal and two points from Ryan McCarthy had nudged them into a 1-5 to 1-4 lead with the Ballymena goal coming directly from a free by Cory Little.
St. Patrick’s played their best football during the second half, moving the ball around confidently and holding on to possession while Trinity lost their way and could only register a single point and that came from a Paul Donnelly penalty.
The second semi-final between Lagan College and Dominican Portstewart is scheduled for next week but just when this will go ahead is uncertain following the postponment of games across the Island due to the Coronavirus.
St Patrick’s : Cory Little (1-1), Aaron Marrs (1-0), Oisin O’Mullan (0-2), Cal O’Brien (0-1), Niall Esler (0-1), Callum Montgomery (0-1).
Trinity: Ryan McCarthy (1-2), Paul Donnelly (0-2), Conor Mowbray (0-10, Lee McKinney (0-1).