Red High seal final place with late scoring burst

Main picture – Man of the Match Tom McGrattan who led his side to their first Mageean Cup final

Danske Bank Mageean Cup semi-final

St Patrick’s Downpatrick 2-17 St Louis Ballymena 1-17

An injury time goal by midfielder Finn Turpin saw St Patrick’s Downpatrick book a place in their first ever Danske Bank Mageean Cup final at the Dub Arena on Friday night.

Tom McGrattan, who had been superb throughout the game, laid on a pin-point pass for Turpin who rounded his marker and fired home from 10 metres out to snatch a victory that had appeared to be getting away from them.

Man of the Match McGrattan had edged Red High in front from a free just a minute earlier, and Turpin’s goal put four points between the sides and with time running out there was no way back for St Louis.

The first half was played at breakneck pace and that only slowed for a period after the second water break when it looked as if nerves were getting the better of both sides when it came to shooting.

After five minutes, the teams had each scored three points. By the tenth minute, St Louis Ballymena’s dangerous inside-forward line had found the net, Jack McCloskey cutting through the cover and converting off the base of the right hand post.

St Louis Daire McMullan breaks from defence during the second half

But within three minutes Downpatrick were a point up, with the brilliant McGrattan going around the left side of the Ballymena defence to rifle to the roof of the net.

Aodhan McGarry responded by pointing from a sideline and by the water-break two well matched teams were level on 1-5 each.

McGarry started the second quarter scoring with a fine point but a run of three successive scores from Finn Turpin, McGrattan and Oisin Coulter edged the Red High ahead again.

However three frees from Jack McCloskey and a point from Ronan McCollam put Ballymena in the lead by 1-11 to 1-10 at half-time.

For the second half Oisin Coulter dropped back to cover Downpatrick’s defence and it cut out the space McCloskey and McCollam enjoyed in the opening half. But it also blunted the winners’ score-taking at the other end, although Pearse Smyth and McGrattan from frees kept the score-board moving.

By the second water break Downpatrick were 1-15 to 1-14 ahead with St Louis now looking for scores from distance.

The next 11 minutes went scoreless. In hindsight Ballymena snatched at a couple of scoring chances that might have put pressure on Downpatrick who pumped a lot of ball in high on the north Antrim defence with no return.

Eventually sub Tom McFerran brought the teams level and McCollam from the left wing gave St Louis the lead with a fantastic score.

Oisin Coulter landed a much needed Downpatrick response in reply and they held firm until Tom McGrattan delivered the match winning scores.

Jack McCloskey fires over a St Louis point from a free

It is scant consolation for Ballymena that they played their part in a fine display of schools’ hurling, but a number of players stood out including Daire McMullan, Connor Dickson and Dara Martin in defence and McCollam and McCloskey in attack until tempered by Downpatrick’s packed back line.

Defence was ultimately the winning of the game, but they would not have got across the line without Turpin, Oisin Coulter and especially the mercurial Tom McGrattan.

Red High’s Michael Dorrian wins possession

St Louis: C Mullan, D Martin 0-1, K O’Boyle, P Patterson, D McMullan 0-2 (1f), CDickson, C McCloskey, F Henry, A McGarry 0-2 (1 sideline), R McQuillan 0-1, C Higgins, D Patterson 0-1 free, R McCollum 0-5 (1f), J McCloskey 1-4 (4f), O McCamphill.

Subs: T McFerran 0-1 for O McCamphill (45)

St Patrick’s: P Smyth 0-2 frees, J Ruddy, R O’Neill, D Coulter, S Mageean, D Mallon, C Lenaghan, T Connolly 0-1, F Turpin 1-2, M Dorrian 0-1, A Connolly, T McGrattan 1-9 (5f), O Coulter 0-2, R McGrath, S McCarthy.

Subs: F MacManus for A Connolly (21), LMcCabe for S McCarthy (43), F Casey for R McGrath (58).

Referee : K Parke

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