St Louis Ballymena 3-9 St Patrick’s Downpatrick 2-5
A storming second half performance by St Louis Ballymena saw them win the Corn Colmcille for the first time since 1997. They trailed a highly fancied Downpatrick side 2-2 to 1-2 as both teams headed to the dressing rooms in a keenly contested final at Carryduff.
In the opening quarter St Louis dominated the game, but a combination of poor composure and stern Downpatrick defending meant that they only registered one single point from Seaan Elliott. It helped settle the St Louis nerves and when Elliott cooly slotted home a penalty shortly after it opened up a four point lead.
However, in a ten minute spell before half time, Downpatrick got a foothold in the game and punished a few St Louis errors. They were costly as the Red High converted them into goals and by half time were three ahead.
Would St Louis regret their wastefulness in the opening quarter? In a below par 2nd quarter St Louis struggled but Declan Dobbin, Conor Stewart and Conor McGarry stood up and were counted and ensured St Louis didn’t fall further behind.
St Louis regrouped and came out knowing that they needed to up their performance if they were going to take the title. Jack McCoy and Seaan Elliott got St Louis off to the perfect start early in the half, a couple of well constructed moves resulting in scores.
Downpatrick were not going to roll over that easy and came back to increase the gap again to two points and led 2-3 to 1-4. Slowly but surely St Louis began to get to grips with the game, Eoghan Daly starting to come into the game alongside his impressive midfield partner Conor Stewart. Cory Little, Rian McCann and Seaan Elliott also started to dominate.
A free from Elliott and what can only be described as an inspirational point from Daly from distance brought the sides level. The Down men once again edged ahead, but at the other end a very effective Eoghan McGrath slotted over to again bring the sides level.
With both teams giving it absolutely everything the game hung in the balance. The Red High again edged in front with a brilliant point tipping the scales back in their favour. St Louis would have to produce something special to kill the Red High resistance.
If Eoghan Daly’s point was inspirational, them Liam McKernan’s effort to tie the game at 1-8 to 2-5 wasn’t far off it. The St Louis inside forward scored 9-13 in the competition so far, but was having a quiet final. This point kicked him into action.
McKernan then scored a vital goal to put St Louis three points in front. Ruairi Campbell, like he did all day took his man on and ran along the end line, looked up, transferred to McKernan and he did the rest. St Louis led 2-8 to 2-5, a massive moment in the game. Seaan Elliott tapped over a free and St Louis looked like they were heading for glory.
Downpatrick fought back against Bessbrook to win their semi final, so St Louis needed to keep focused. Assured handling from ‘keeper Montgomery and a vital goal line clearance from Eoin McCusker kept out Downpatrick.
If this didn’t kill their resolve then Liam McKernan’s 2nd goal, his 11th of the season ended the game as a contest. Declan McCloskey nearly got in on the scoring act but his effort for a point dropped short, but it didn’t matter. The Corn Colmcille was coming back to Kintullagh.
It was a great performance from the team, with Rian McCann, James McDonnell and Cormac Mooney all playing important roles. Very often sacrificing their own game to carry out their role blotting out the key Downpatrick dangermen. All for the good of the team.
So a football, hurling and camogie trophy all in the same year. A fitting way to mark the school’s 90th year celebrations and demonstrating the school’s commitment to Gaelic Games.
St Louis Ballymena: Aaron Montgomery, Cormac Mooney, Rian McCann, Eoin McCusker, Declan Dobbin, James McDonnell, Conor McGarry, Eoghan Daly 0-1, Conor Stewart, Eoghan McGrath 0-1, Seaan Elliott 1-4, Cory Little, Jack McCoy 0-2, Liam McKernan 2-1, Ruairi Campbell.
Subs : Declan McCloskey for J McCoy, Liam Quigg, Conor Brennan, Kevin Brady, Oisin Connolly, Ruairi Hagan, Colm Kennedy, Ruairi McAleese, Oliver McAtamney, Ciaran McQuillian, Rory Mullan, Tom Patchett, Conor O’Rawe, Lorcan McLean. Aaron Magill, John Brady.
St Patrick’s Downpatrick : R Sterrit, J Wills, P Tempany, J Harbison, R Murphy, N Laverty 0-1, D Cunnigham, T Smith 0-1, R O’Hare 0-1, R Quinn, D McKibben, P McMullan 1-1, B Boyd, D Barnes 1-0, T Prenter.
Sub : J Leonard 0-1 for T Prenter.
Ref: Brendan Toland