St Louis fall to strong fightback from Carrickmacross

Danske Bank McLarnon Cup Quarter-Final 

St Louis’ Ballymena 0-12-1-15 Patrican High School, Carrickmacross 

Kevin Herron reports from the Dub 

A Cian Conlon inspired fightback helped Patrican, Carrickmacross see off St Louis Ballymena 1-15-0-12 in this afternoons McLarnon Cup Quarter-Final clash at the Dub. 

St Louis had the better of the opening half and put themselves into a 0-07-0-03 lead at the midway point thanks to some excellent shooting from the dead-ball by Ryan McQuillan and some fine points from Callum Higgins. 

But Carrickmacross came out firing after the break and overturned their four-point deficit to lead 0-10-0-07 with Cian Conlon conjuring up some fantastic scores. 

Extra-time remained a possibility though as St Louis twice levelled going down the home straight- but Conon Johnston will rue his goal chance rising and clipping the bar on the way over- instead of finding the Carrickmacross net. 

The Monaghan outfit finished stronger and a goal from substitute Conor McEnaney sealed the deal and saw his side safely into the last four. 

Carrickmacross were slight favourites going into the last eight clash in Belfast but fell behind to the opening score from a Ryan McQuillan free. 

Dylan Farrelly swung over a nice response for Carrickmacross after a patient build-up move and a Dylan McConnell free had his side 0-02-0-01 ahead in the early stages. 

 There was plenty of intensity from both sides in the opening exchanges which ebbed and flowed, on 10 minutes the sides were drawn level as Ryan McQuillan claimed an advanced mark and dully converted. 

St Louis’ hit the front at the water-break after Conor Hastings slipped the ball through to Kevin McCann, McCann in turn found McQuillan to clip over his third point of the afternoon. 

McQuillan claimed a second advanced mark and converted after the short break to move his side two-clear and midfielder Conon Johnston fielded a high ball and steered his shot over. 

The opening goal should have fell to the Antrim side when Daniel McQuillan pierced the ball through to Callum Higgins for a splendid opportunity, but the foot of Daire O’Shea deflected the shot behind at the expense of a 45’. 

Higgins had another sighting moments later – however on this occasion he opted to float the ball over the bar, and he followed up with a second point from an acute angle moments later to make it 0-07-0-02 and it was his sides sixth score on the trot. 

Carrickmacross were in need of a score before the break and when a Cian Conlon free was dropped short, possession was recycled to Ciaran Finnegan for a much-needed score to ensure his side trailed by four at the interval. 

The opening score of the second period fell to Patrican with Dylan McConnell converting his second free of the afternoon, Dylan Byrne followed-up with another shortly after and the Monaghan side were on the comeback trail. 

Conor McEnaney replaced free-taker McConnell early in the half and Cian Conlon took over free duty- he converted back-to-back to level at 0-07 apiece within ten minutes of the restart. 

On 41 minutes the lead changed hands when Cian Burns picked out the run of Fionán Carolan to slot the ball between the posts. 

Conlon then conjured up two fantastic scores either side of the water-break as Carrickmacross were 0-10-0-07 ahead and looking good to advance. 

St Louis were without a score since Callum Higgins 27th minute point, but they carved out a fantastic goal chance that looked destined for the net through Conon Johnston- but his vicious strike rose and clipped the crossbar on the way over for a point. 

It lifted his side though as Ryan McQuillan converted his second free of the afternoon and shortly after he sent an angled effort over the bar to claw St Louis’ back on level terms at 0-10 apiece on 53 minutes. 

Conlon edged Carrickmacross back ahead, but McQuillan powered through from deep and landed an equalising score to ensure it was level pegging again with just under five minutes remaining. 

The pendulum swung back into the favour of the Monaghan men after Conlon received possession from substitute Dualta Honney and angled the ball between the large posts. 

Conlon notched up his third free of the half and hit his eight point of the afternoon soon after- following a nice interchange with Darragh Mee. 

A minute from time the game was put beyond doubt for St Louis’ when they failed to execute a kick-out and were turned over with fatal consequences as Conor McEnaney dinked the ball over Jamie McLaughlin and into the net to make it 1-14-0-11. 

McEnaney stretched his sides advantage a point in the aftermath with Ryan McQuillan adding a late consolation for a Ballymena side that seemed to run out of steam late-on. 

Patrican ran out 1-15-0-12 winners in the end to take their place in the last four of the competition, but they were made to earn their place against a St Louis’ side that played some fantastic football over the course of the hour. 

St Louis’: J McLaughlin, E Carey, C Higgins, H O’Donnell, M Reid, S O’Callaghan, C O’Brien, K McCann, C Johnston (0-02), C Hastings, R McQuillan (0-08, 0-02 advanced mark, 0-03f), D McQuillan, A McGarry, C Higgins (0-02), P Boyle. Subs: B McCluskey for P Boyle (40), R McCarthy for C Higgins. 

Patrican High School, Carrickmacross: D O’Shea, C Finnegan (0-01), J McKeever, P Farrelly, D Martin, D Byrne (0-01), D Farrelly (0-01), O Monahan, K McGanon, C Burns, F Carolan (0-01), C Conlon (0-08, 0-03f), D Mee, D McConnell (0-02f), K Duffy. Subs: C McEnaney (1-01) for D McConnell (36), D Honney for D Martin (50), C Martin for C Burns (54), G Finnegan for D Farrelly (59). 

Referee: Colm McDonald (Naomh Gall) 

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