CPC win Ulster University pre-season tournament

CPC won the annual pre season hurling tournament at Ulster Univserity earlier this week, beating north Antrim rivals St Killian’s in the final. The 11-a-side competition, which is always a good guide to the forthcoming Mageean Cup, attracted eight teams, with CPC, St Killian’s, St Louis and St Mary’s being joined by St Pat’s Maghera, Our Lady & St Patrick’s Knock, Rathmore, St Malachy’s and Red High

CPC started their victorious campaign in a group game against Rathmore Grammar, Belfast. The game got swiftly underway in the first minute as CPC forward Conor Donnelly put one past the Rathmore keeper. CPC followed up with a range of scores from Roan McGarry, Conor Donnelly and half forward Ben ‘Swevy’ McGarry, who was also CPC captain on the day, before Rathmore scored from a placed ball shortly before the referee blew the halftime whistle. The second half began with a stylish ‘over the shoulder’ point from Roan McGarry and goal from Swevy McGarry with Rathmore showing no hope of a comeback.

The following 2 group games were little to no different to the result in the first match, as CPC beat St Killian’s, who they then went on to meet in the Cup final, and St Patricks Downpatrick to leave them top of the group going into the semi-finals.

CPC came up against a strong Knock outfit in the semis, who were runners up in their group. CPC had a blistering first half, coming in 2-06 to 0-0 at the interval with scores from Roan McGarry, Tiago McGarry, Swevy McGarry and Callum Cane. Knock got 2 quick frees at the start of the second half which were skilfully placed over the bar. But with the impact of substitute Danny McAuley who settled the nerves with a score at the other end, CPC led themselves to a final against St Killian’s.

Both teams were missing a few key players who are involved in championships at club level, with CPC missing the likes of Paudie Martin, Reece Cunning and Ben O’Kane and St Killians short of Cormac McKeown, Callagh Mooney and James McKeegan but the talent on show was first class.

CPC made the first break as Ronan ‘Rosie’ Fitzgerald got the first score of the final when he slotted the ball over the bar with a score on the wing 45 which followed up by a goal from Tiago McGarry when he made a run down the left hand side of the field before bouncing it in front of the keeper and into the back of the net. St Killian’s keeper Thomas McLaughlin pucked the ball down the field before reaching Orrin O’Connor who took no time to put it in the back of the net. CPC scraped a goal before the end of the half from Roan McGarry as they went in 2-03 to 1-2 up at the break. With a downfall of rain at the end of the first half, the conditions were poor leaving the sliotar wet and slippery as easy chances were starting to be missed. The final two minutes were intense when St Killian’s were awarded a free outside the 21 which was saved by goalkeeper Eoghan Richmond and resulted in a 65 moments before the final whistle. The ball was lumped in the square but well defended by the CPC defence before referee Fiontann McCotter sounded the final whistle.

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