St Brigid’s edge out St Pauls in thrilling Fr Mullan Cup decider

South Antrim U-15 Fr Mullan Cup Final

St Brigids 0-09-2-02 St Pauls

Kevin Herron reports from Coláiste Feirste

Three days before Christmas the final South Antrim fixture of 2022 saw St Brigid’s meet St Paul’s in the final of the Fr Mullan Cup.

Live streamed on the Official South Antrim GAA page by Jerome Quinn, it certainly didn’t disappoint as Belfast’s big-two at this current age group played out another closely fought affair.

A goal almost arrived within the first 60-seconds when Jack Heatherington got into a great shooting position, but his shot flashed past the post and inches wide.

It took eight minutes for the first score to arrive courtesy of a converted Joe Logan free for St Brigid’s and the South-Belfast side doubled their lead when Jonny Higgins cut-back and laid the ball off to Finn McCann – who dropped a shot over the bar.

Dillon Rodgers Duffy got St Pauls off the mark at the other end through a free, but St Brigid’s restored their two point advantage through a fine Peter Molloy score at clipped inside of the large post on its way over.

They extended their lead before the break with another two scores from Logan, the first a terrific angled free that dropped between the posts and he added another after the resulting kick-out was claimed by a team-mate as St Brigid’s were 0-05-0-01 ahead at the midway stage.

Like the opening half, St Brigid’s almost found the net early in the second period- Conor Friel released Connaill Taggert to charge through, Shea Kearns got a fist on his initial effort, though the ball spilled to Dara Graham whose shot was hacked off the line by Brendan McMorrow in the nick of time.

It was a chance St Brigid’s would rue as St Paul’s hit the net at the other end to put the bare minimum between the sides.

Oisin Gamble swooped in to take a loose ball and his low shot was parried by St Brigid’s keeper Jonah Power, although he was unable to prevent Dillon Rodgers Duffy from turning the rebound to the net to make it 0-05-1-01.

St Brigid’s found the next score through a converted Joe Logan free and then moved three-points clear when Rhys Bray kicked a sensational point that co-commentator Paddy Cunningham would have approved.

The South-Belfast outfit re-established their four-point advantage thanks to a fine Conor Friel point from range, though at the other end Oisin Gamble dropped a shot over to keep his side within touching distance.

St Pauls had Brendan McMorrow to thank for ensuring they still had a chance of victory when he got in the way of a driving shot from Peter Molloy and cleared off the line for the second time in the half.

Four-points remained the difference until injury-time at the end of the second half, Oisin Gamble tried to dip the ball over Jonah Power- who got a fist to it underneath the crossbar, but Ben McManus was lurking and turned the loose ball home from close range to make it 0-09-2-02 and set-up a grandstand finish.

St Pauls pushed for a late leveller and had the opportunity for force a penalty shoot-out when they were awarded a free from a tight angle.

Oisin Gamble seized responsibility and his shot appeared to be heading inside the posts- though tailed an inch wide as St Brigid’s held on for victory to claim the Fr Mullan Cup at the end of an entertaining evening of football on the Falls Road.

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