First hurling title for St Mary’s Magherafelt

Danske Bank Casement Cup final

St Mary’s Magherafelt 1-10 Rathmore Grammar 0-7

ST MARY’S Magherafelt collected their first ever senior schools’ hurling title yesterday afternoon in Corrigan Park when they led from pillar to post against Rathmore Grammar in the Danske Bank Casement Cup final.

Beaten in last year’s decider by St Malachy’s Belfast, the south Derry school looked the physically stronger side and they made their presence count in the first half to lead by 0-7 to 0-2 at the break.

Cargin’s Conhuir Johnstone, who along with Niall O’Donnell and James Sargeant played in the extra time MacRory Cup quarter-final loss to Patrician High on Saturday, impressed from the start and forced Rathmore to drop a sweeper back. The Cargin club man scored five of the seven first half points, two from frees.

Rathmore corner back Jay Ward wins possession

Sargeant also landed a free, but the Convent didn’t pull clear until injury time when they landed three points.

Five minutes into the second half Johnstone grabbed the only goal of the game when a long delivery fell handy for him to flick to the net.

It was a body blow to Rathmore and they didn’t recover their composure until the last quarter when they shot four points, three of them from Déaglán Mooney frees.

However by then the Convent were closing out the game. 

Player of the match Sargeant and Johnstone were the key players for St Mary’s, although they were compact at the back with either John McGurk or Leo Gribbin effective in a free role. Midfield probably also swung Magherafelt’s way.

For Rathmore, their more experienced players, Ruairí Grant, Mooney and James Close coped best against a team that was more physically imposing.

Team captain Luke Burns lifts the Casement Cup after his team’s win over Rathmore

St Mary’s now go through to the All-Ireland series at the start of March.

St Mary’s: P Kelly, L Gribbin, O Mulligan, J McGurk, R McCallion, J Sargeant (0-2 frees), N O’Donnell, C Curley, L Burns, M Walls, C Johnstone (1-5, 0-2 frees), J Convery (0-2), L McDonnell, AJ McCann, P Birt (0-1)

Sub: B McLarnon for L McDonnell

Rathmore: O McCarney, J Ward, R Grant, T Graham, S McCarthy, D Mooney (0-3 frees), C Devlin, C Blaney, R McErlean, C O’Neill, J Close  O Morgan-Lyttle, D King, F Blaney (0-3, 2 frees), R Taylor (0-1)

Subs: D McGurk for T Graham, M Madden for C Devlin, G Cowan for C O’Neill, D Prenter for O Morgan-Lyttle, D Sidebottom for J Ward

Referee: Colm McDonnell (St Gall’s)

St Mary’s centre back James Sargent received the man of the match trophy for his display at centre back

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