Danske Bank Ulster Schools – McLarnon Cup
St Louis Ballymena 1-13 St Paul’s Bessbrook 1-11
An incredible finish that saw St Louis score a goal and two points in injury time saw the Ballymena school into the semi-final of the McLarnon Cup at the Dub on Monday.
In a game that saw both teams have lengthy spells of dominance the boys from Bessbrook appeared to have booked their place in the last four when two points from Oisin Cunningham and one from team captain Ruairi O’Brien put them three clear as the game went into injury time. To be honest it looked like St Louis were dead and buried, but they came back with two quick points from All Saints Cal O’Brien and Shea O’Broin from Con Magees to cut the deficit to a single points. Even then it appeared as if they were too late to snatch a draw but they won the next kick out and a high ball into the Bessbrook ‘square saw centre forward Conan McAuley from St Comgall’s get a fist to it and send it the net to spark scenes of great celebration among the St Louis ranks.
It took the game a while to get going in the first half, and it took an incredible point blanks save from St Louis goalkeeper Jamie McLaughlin to deny Bessbrook a goal. The Ballymena school began to settle and when they hit the first four points of the game through Shea O’Broin and Kevin McCann they appeared to be flying. However Bessbrook suddenly sprung to life and with Ruairi O’Brien controlling matters they closed the gap before hitting the front with an excellently taken goal from Oisin Cunningham which helped them to a 1-4 to 0-4 lead. With half time fast approaching St Louis appeared to be in a spot of bother but two points before the break from Cal O’Brien and Conor McKenna saw them close to within a point at the break.
The start of the second half saw Bessbrook regain control and with Cunningham and O’Brien on top form they pulled four clear again after 39 minutes. The pendulum swung again in St Louis favour with three more pointed frees from Shea O’Broin and one from McKenna to tie thing up again.
Bessbrooks three points between the 57th and 60th minutes appeared to have won it until St Louis snatched it from them at the death to set up a semi-final meeting with Donaghmore, conquerors of St Mary’s in Monday’s other quarter final. The man in charge of Donaghmore is Niall Kelly from Portglenone….a past pupil of St Louis
Jamie McLauglin (Moneyglass); Caoimhin Kennedy (Cargin); Conor Higgins (Rasharkin); Dara Martin (Tir na nÓg); Joe McCormick (Rasharkin); Aodhan McGarry (All Saints); Tom McFerran (Dunloy); Conor McKenna (Tir na nÓg), Cormac Mullan (Rasharkin); Cal O’Brien (All Saints); Conor McAuley (St Comgall’s); Kevin McCann (Moneyglass); Barry McCloskey (Dunloy); Shea O’Broin (Con Magees); Hugh O’Donnell (Cargin).
Subs – Kevin O’Boyle (All Saints); Michael McGarry (Portglenone)