Danske Bank McLarnon Cup
St. Malachy’s Castlewellan 2-08- 5-05 St. Mary’s CBGS
Kevin Herron reports from Castlewellan
Photos by Maurice McKey
St. Mary’s CBGS opened up their Danske Bank McLarnon Cup campaign with a 5-05-2-08 victory over St Malachy’s Castlewellan in Castlewellan on Thursday afternoon.
The Glen Road outfit stamped their authority early-on and should have found the net within 20-seconds of the throw-in, but Dubhaltach Wilson and Conor Hand were both denied a gilt-edged goal opportunity.
But their early endeavours paid dividends when Conor Boyle was slipped through and fired low to the net, with Pearse Short then angling over their opening point in the aftermath.
St Malachy’s responded with an excellent Joe McCrickard point but were cut open again on 10 minutes and Niall Fallon took advantage.
There was no respite for the hosts as Finn Shannon steered a shot over the bar at the near post and Diarmaid Rogan rifled home his sides third goal.
A fourth goal may have been in the offering before the water-break- however Conor Boyle saw his vicious shot crash off the woodwork and instead a Niall Fallon point saw the visitors hold a convincing 3-03-0-01 lead at the midway point in the half.
The quick break afforded St Malachy’s the opportunity to regroup, and they took advantage with Ryan McGorran and James Savage both registering points.
Then on 22 minutes the visitors defence was breached for the first time and Odhran Hynes shot squeezed underneath the grasp of Rhys Camlin and into the net to make it 3-03-1-03.
Conor Hand (free) and Conal Gribben traded the next scores and a further converted free from Finn Shannon before the break had St. Mary’s 3-05-1-04 in the ascendancy at the interval.
St Malachy’s had the chance to make inroads early in the second period when they were awarded a penalty for a trip inside the small area.
Odhran Hynes took responsibility and confidently dispatched high into the roof of the net to put four-points between the sides.
Although they were pegged back almost instantly as St. Mary’s charged down field and ball was laid off to Niall Fallon to stroke home his second of the afternoon and make it 4-04-2-03.
James Savage converted back-to-back frees and then curled over a magnificent point from play to make it a four-point contest once again.
The knock-out punch arrived on the stroke of the second half water break as with Diarmaid Rogan on-hand to blast home his second goal of the game to move St. Mary’s 5-05-2-07 to the good.
Castlewellan threw everything at the Belfast side in the final quarter – but their only score was a converted free courtesy of James Savage.
St. Mary’s defended resolutely and closed down a number of threatening chances as the clock ticked down but saw the game out to get their campaign off to a positive start.