All Ireland Colleges B Hurling Final 2010
Strong finish sees Cross & Passion retain O’Keefe Cup
Cross & Passion 1-12 Dungarvan CBS 0-11
Cross & Passion College Ballycastle produced a storming finish to retain the O’Keefe Cup (All Ireland Colleges B Hurling) at the expense of Waterford and Munster champions Dungarven CBS at Fingallians, Swords.
The reigning champions had dominated proceedings during the opening quarter of the match, and despite playing against a fresh breeze had opened up a 1-4 to 0-2 lead after fourteen minutes, the goal coming from left-half forward James Black who kicked the ball to the Dungarvan net to finish off a great move involving Ciaran Clarke and James McShane.
However they only managed one more point in the remaining sixteen minutes of the first half and Dungarvan edged their way back into the game with a series of pointed frees from the excellent Colm Curran to trail by just a goal at half-time. (1-5 to 0-5)
Curran continued to chip away at the Cross & Passion lead after the restart and four more points in reply to one from Cross & Passion’s James Black had the sides level by the end of the third quarter.
Curran then edged Dungarvan ahead with their only score from play in the game and suddenly Cross & Passion appeared to be in a spot of bother, but a terrific point from ‘Grinder’ McAfee brought them back on terms and Ciaran Clarke edged them in front once again with a point from a ‘65’.
The confidence was beginning to grow again among the Antrim champions, but they had to survive a major scare in the fifty first minute when good work by Dungarvan opened the C&P defence, and when Colm Curran put his brother Cathal free just fourteen metres out, a goal for the Munster boys seemed certain to score.
The Cross & Passion supports must have feared the worst but as Curran got ready to ‘pull the trigger’ C&P corner-back Ronan McCloskey somehow got back to brilliantly ‘hook’ Curran’s shot and divert it wide for a 65.
Older brother Colm sent the 65 between the posts to level the scores again, but it was to be Dungarvan’s last score of the game as Cross & Passion upped the tempo once again to produce a storming finish and secure victory with four unanswered points.
James McShane started the ball rolling when he was put clear and blasted the ball over the bar from twenty metres after great work in the corner by Ciaran Clarke and Stephen McAfee, before Clarke fired over two quick frees to put them in sight of victory.
There was one last fright for the faithful followers when Dungarvan got a twenty-metre free and Curran went for what would have been a match levelling goal, but centre-half back Daniel McPeake saved the shot and got the ball clear of the danger area.
A minute later midfielder Conor Laverty, who had been highly influential in the final quarter, sent over a magnificent long range point to pull his team four clear and send the O’Keefe Cup back to North Antrim for the second year in succession, and spark scenes of great celebration among the travelling supporters.
Cross & Passion – Steven McGinn (Carey Faughs); Ronan McCloskey (Loughgiel Shamrocks); Matthew Donnelly – capt (Ballycastle McQuillans); Paul McLernon (Ballycastle McQuillans); Niall Murray (Glenariffe Oisins); Daniel McPeake (Loughgiel Shamrocks); Dermot Donnelly (Ballycastle McQuillans); Conor Laverty (Cloughmills St Brigid’s); Patrick Blaney (Cushendall Ruairi Og); Shane Jennings (Ballycastle McQuillans); James McShane (Ballycastle McQuillans); James Black (Carey Faughs); Stephen McAfee (Ballycastle McQuillans); James McCouig (Carey Faughs), Ciaran Clarke (Ballycastle McQuillans). Subs used – Fergus Donnelly (Ballycastle McQuillans)