Danske Bank Forester’s Cup Final
Our Lady and St Patrick’s Knock 3-07-3-09 Cross and Passion College
Kevin Herron reports from the Dub
A 39th minute goal from Roan McGarry ensured that Cross and Passion lead for the third and final time of an epic Forrester’s Cup Final as the Ballycastle outfit ran out 3-09-3-07 winners over Our Lady and St Patrick’s Knock in the final at the Dub on Tuesday afternoon.
Cross and Passion began as favourites but Knock, competing in their first ever ‘A’ hurling final- didn’t read the script and lead at the break thanks to a quickfire double from Ben Teggart and Frank Kane.
The County Down men recovered from a slow start to the second period to regain the lead through points from Liam Blaney and Ben Teggart.
McGarry’s strike proved pivotal, and his side hung on despite Kane slicing the deficit with a goal 12 minutes from time that provided a grandstand finish to a breath-taking encounter.
Knock started brightly and opened their account when Sean McCollum picked out Tomas O’Brien and he found Liam Blaney on the offload to point.
Caedan Crawford hit back at the other end and Cross and Passion drew the first major blow with a 6th minute goal.
Aidan Richmond flicked a pass into the path of Crawford and he in turn found Roan McGarry to guide a shot past Mark Guest and give the Ballycastle side a 1-01-0-01 lead.
Further points followed with Conor Donnelly conjuring a fantastic point from range and Ronan Fitzgerald converting a free.
With ten minutes to the break, Knock came roaring back. A foul on Frank Kane saw the East Belfast outfit awarded a free and Ben Teggart opted to go low and blasted to the net to make it 1-03-1-01.
A role reversal two minutes later saw Teggart drop a long range free into the danger zone and Kane swung a low shot to the net to edge his side back in front.
Back-to-back points from Liam Blaney saw Knock open up a three-point advantage and the sides would trade further scores before the break.
Roan McGarry converted a free and Teggart then replied through a 65’ as Knock were 2-04-1-04 ahead at the midway stage of the decider.
Cross and Passion reduced arrears through a Liam Glackin angled point early in the second period and then got themselves back in front.
Conor Donnelly burst through the Knock defence and picked his spot in the net to make it 2-05-2-04.
Parity was restored when Ben Teggart’s free dropped short and Liam Blaney fired high between the posts for his fourth of the afternoon.
Teggart added to his first half strike with a point from a further placed ball to ensure his side were ahead for the third time in proceedings.
The pendulum would swing back into Cross and Passions favour on 39 minutes. Conor Donnelly tried to drive into a shooting position but fumbled and the ball was worked into the path of Roan McGarry to flick home and give his side a 3-05-2-06 lead.
Three unanswered points had given the Ballycastle outfit some temporary breathing space. Ronan Fitzgerald picked off an angled point, McGarry converted a free when Conor Donnelly was felled, and Donnelly would add the last of the three in succession.
Knock were in need of a score to try and turn the tide and on 48 minutes they found their third goal of the afternoon when Frank Kane gathered, and his shot spun past Ruairi McShane and into the top left-hand corner of the net to make it 3-08-3-06 and ensure it was game on once again.
A converted Teggart free left the bare minimum between the sides and Knock thought they had managed to claw themselves back level with a Liam Blaney effort that was very close.
The umpire had originally signalled for a point, although after further consultation with referee Brendan Toland- the man in the middle signalled that Blaney’s effort had drifted an inch wide of the post.
Roan McGarry nudged his side a further point clear from his third converted free of the contest.
Two-points remained the difference going into added time, Cross and Passion couldn’t muster a further score that would have left Knock needing a goal to force extra-time.
The East Belfast side would in fact have the chance to steal victory from the jaws of defeat when the ball was worked into the path of Liam Blaney to bare down on goal. However, Cross and Passion goalkeeper Ruairi McShane made himself big and bravely blocked the subsequent effort.
They were able to clear their lines in time for referee Toland to bring an epic final to its conclusion with contrasting emotions from both sets of players – unbridled joy for Cross and Passion and devastation for the Knock players, who were immense to a man for the 60+ minutes.
Our Lady’s and St Patrick’s Knock: M Guest, M Gilmore, O O’Neill, T McCusker, S McCollum, B Teggart (1-03, 1-02f, 0-01 65’), J Dynes, L Doran, C Boyle, R Donnelly, L Blaney (0-04), S O’Connell, T O’Brien, F Kane (2-00), J McKay.
Cross and Passion: R McShane, C McMullan, C Baudant, A McGarry, C Cane, L Glackin (0-01), A Kelly, R Fitzgerald (0-02, 0-01f), C Donnelly (1-02), D Donnelly, O Connolly, A Richmond, R McGarry (2-03, 0-03f), C Crawford (0-01). Subs: L Magee for C McMullan (35), C Johnston for A Richmond (41), O McCallin for C Crawford (59).
Referee: Brendan Toland (Lámh Dhearg)