Danske Bank Gallagher Cup – Ulster Colleges Hurling
St. Mary’s CBGS 2-13-0-02 Cross and Passion, Ballycastle
By Kevin Herron
St.Mary’s CBGS began the defence of the Gallagher Cup with a comfortable 2-13-0-02 win over Cross and Passion, Ballycastle at Cloughmills this afternoon.
The pre-game intrigue came in the form of the Herron rivalry as St. Mary’s CBGS Raymond Herron entered back into management of a school team for the first time since 2008 and upon his return he faced younger brother and ex-Antrim stalwart Ciaran – a teacher at Cross and Passion.
It was St. Mary’s CBGS who were quickest out of the traps – despite playing against the wind in the opening 25 minutes, Dubhaltach Wilson picked up the ball and despite running into heavy traffic the St. Galls corner-forward was able to get his shot over the bar.
Oisin Elliott responded for Cross and Passion with an excellent score from range, though quickfire points from Diarmuid Rogan and midfielder Conor Boyle gave St. Mary’s CBGS a 0-03-0-01 lead.
Elliott claimed his second point of the afternoon to half the deficit – but it was be his sides last of the afternoon with over 40 minutes of the game remaining.
Niall Fallon almost found the net for St. Mary’s however his shot was repelled by the Cross and Passion goalkeeper and Boyle popped the ball over the bar for his second point of the afternoon midway through the half.
Malachai McCluskey and midfield partner Boyle were dominating the centre of the park – Boyle made it back to back scores before the opening goal arrived on 17 minutes.
The move which led to the goal was free flowing as Conor Boyle combined with Pearce Short whose hand pass released wing-half forward Niall Fallon; who had impressed in St Gall’s Féile hurling games to date – with 5-07 from three games and Fallon conjured up the first goal after soloing forward and driving the silother into the top corner to give his side a 1-05-0-02 lead.
Conor Boyle struck his third successive point in the aftermath and just before the break Dubhaltach Wilson and Diarmuid Rogan claimed their second respective points of the afternoon and in between – captain Fionn Mervyn was accurate from a converted free to give St. Mary’s CBGS a 1-09-0-02 lead at the interval.
Within two minutes of the restart St. Mary’s CBGS had their second goal of the afternoon – Niall Fallon saw his low shot blocked by the Cross and Passion goalkeeper but fortuitously Fallon found the net at the second time of asking – via the post as his side were now 2-09-0-02 in front.
Fallon would bring his personal tally to 2-01 with a 35th minute before departing play – St. Mary’s CBGS ran their bench and substitute Paul Donnelly was next on the score sheet with an excellent strike over the black spot.
The industrious Malachai McCluskey deservedly claimed a point five minutes from time after turning the ball over and letting fly and the final score of came courtesy of the hard working Dubhaltach Wilson .
Cross and Passion should have added to their tally with a late rally but credit must go to St. Mary’s unsung heroes at the back including wing-backs Patrick Moyes and Adam Churchill – who were colossal in preventing the corner-forwards troubling goalkeeper Cahir Carberry.
Ben McAuley was a rock at full-back whilst Stefan Hughes and Pearce Short – were keen to contribute too many of St. Mary’s forward advances.
Pics by John McIlwaine