Change of tops brings change of fortune as St. Louis advance

 Corn Uan Uladh semi-final:

St Louis Ballymena 4-8 St Patrick’s Maghera 4-7

That well-worn cliché, ‘A game of two halves’ certainly applied in this enthralling Corn Uan Uladh semi-final game in Ahoghill today when St. Louis Ballymena staged a remarkable second half comeback to overturn St. Patrick’s Maghera’s 12 point half time lead and advance to the final against Cross & Passion Ballycastle in Ballymena on Saturday.

The first half belonged to the Derry girls and while they were not as dominating as their half time lead suggested, they never the less appeared to have one foot in Saturday’s final when they led 4-4 to 0-4 as the half time whistle sounded.

St. Louis and their opponents St. Patrick’s lined out in very similar colours at the start of this game in Cloney and St. Louis manager, Chloe Draine decided to turn her sides shirts inside out for the second half and while this was not the reason for her side’s remarkable rally it certainly made players much easier to identify as the second half action got under way

St Louis opened brightly with points from Dunloy pair Kyra Doherty and Katie Molloy (2) inside the first five minutes and looked impressive during these opening exchanges.

By the 10th minute they had conceded three goals however and questions would have to be asked about their defending with St. Patrick’s coming up against only minimum resistance as they penetrated the Ballymena rear guard.

The first came with a long ball out of defence for Carla McEldowney in the right corner and on both occasions a low cross was picked up by Aimee Lennon for the first two goals. Then Bellaghy club-mate Caoimhe Chambers finished the third goal and again the St. Louis marking was poor.

St Louis were forced to bring Katie Molloy back as sweeper to close out the goal threat and it left the Kintullagh girls missing her influence in attack. There was a bit of fortune with Maghera’s fourth goal at the end of the first quarter with goalie Orlagh Convery seeming to lose site of Evanne Martin’s shot in the blinding sun and it ended in the net.

Maghera continued to press during the remainder of the half and looked to be in pole position when they led 4-4 to 0-4 at the change of ends with St. Louis getting a late point from Anna McKillop.

With the change of tops seemed to come a change in attitude from the Ballymena side and Kyra Doherty got the second half off to a flying start with a goal and when Anna McKillop added a second after 36 minutes, St Louis supporters and their side dared to dream.

The momentum was now very much with St. Louis as they battled for every ball, knocking the opposition out of their stride and minutes before the second water break Katie Molloy drove through the centre and fired to the net to leave just two points between the teams at 3-6 to 4-5.

Anna McKillop’s point from a free left just one in it and the Cullybackey Road girls had the scent of victory in their nostrils as the final quarter got under way and the excellent Anna McKillop fired in a fourth Ballymena goal to level the tie.

The action continued to flow in the direction of the Maghera goal and Eimear Johnston might well have had a fifth Ballymena goal minutes later, but her shot skimmed over the cross-bar instead.

St. Patrick’s had been fighting a rear guard action for the greater part of the second half and finding it difficult to find a way through a now much more organised St. Louis defence but they broke forward and Evanne Martin levelled from a free and the game was still in the melting pot.

 St. Louis were not to be denied however and McKillop knocked over the winning point from a dead ball four minutes from the end. There were a couple of late chances for Maghera to take it to extra time, but St Louis held on to make it an all-north Antrim derby with Cross & Passion Ballycastle in the final for the third time out of the last four.

CPC had things all their own way in the other semi-final against St Mary’s Magherafelt in Ballymena, scoring eight goals and five points in the first half alone and five of those from Cassie McArthur.

St Louis: Orlagh Convery, Susan Shannon, Orla Kane, Grace Kearns, Erin Coulter, Dearbhail Dobbin, Sarah Fyfe, Eimear Johnstone 0-1, Katie Molloy 1-2, Carlina Sullivan, Cliodhna Griffin, Anna McKillop 2-4, 0-3 frees, Niamh Neeson, Kyra Doherty 1-1 capt, Ciara O’Boyle.

Subs: Anna McKillen for O Kane (HT), Maria Gately for C O’Boyle (HT), Aoibhinn Cosgrove for C Sullivan (38).

St Patrick’s: Annie Ní Lochlainn, Alicia Gillen, Leah Lennon capt, Erin Kelly, Emer Doherty, Orlaith Hull, Abi McNeill, Evanne Martin 1-4, 0-3 frees, Emer Murray, Cara Donnelly, Blanaid McLaughlin 0-1, Doireann Donnelly, Carla McEldowney 0-1, Aimee Lennon 2-1, Caoimhe Chambers 1-0.

Subs: Emma Collins for C Donnelly (HT), Caoimhe Kearney for D Donnelly (40), Mary Murray for E Murray (48).

Referee Owen Elliott (Ballymena)

St Malachy’s seal the silverware to bridge 63 year gap

Danske Bank Casement Cup final – Ulster Colleges Senior Hurling B

St Malachy’s Belfast 1-13 St Mary’s Magherafelt 2-7

St Malachy’s won the Danske Bank Casement Cup at Quinn Park Ballymena on Wednesday evening when they saw off the stern challenge of St Mary’s Magherafelt in a hard fought and entertaining final to bring a senior hurling trophy back to the school for the first time since 1958. Driven on by star of the show and team captain Luke O’Connor, the Belfast side held off a late rally by St Mary’s to deservedly seal the title and spark scenes of great celebration.

St Marlachy’s centre forward Anthony McGarrigle fires in his team’s goal to seal the Casement Cup victory over St Mary’s Magherafelt.

St Mary’s can holds their heads high for they battled to the end. No doubt had St Malachy’s taken a fraction of their chances they would have won much easier, but St Mary’s had them worried entering the final quarter, when they reduced the gap to a single point, but O’Connor eased the nerves with some excellent scores, before centre forward Anthony McGarrigle put the icing on the cake with a superbly taken goal.

St Malachy’s held the upper hand during the opening quarter and came close to goaling in the opening seconds. The Magherafelt boys repelled that early effort but St Malachy’s hit back with points from Ronan Eager and Anthony McGarrigle inside the opening minutes.

St Mary’s settled and points from Conhuir Johnstone and Diarmuid Mulholland had them back on terms by the tenth minute, and though St Malachy’s were starting to dominate the play they were only two ahead by the first water break. (0-5 to 0-3)

St Mary’s Conhuir Johnstone in action during the Casement Cup final

Although dominating the play it looked like wasteful finishing could cost St Malachy’s dearly, and when Cargin minor football star Conhuir Johnstone broke through to fire home a great goal the fat was back in the fire.

When St Malachy’s were reduced to fourteen men just before the second half water break they began to look a little edgy, despite their territorial advantage, but Luke O’Connor settled them down with some excellently taken points, and when McGarrigle grabbed his team’s goal the victory was secured.

St Mary’s: P Kelly, J McGurk, D Young, R McCallion, T McOscar, B Kelly 1-1, N O’Donnell, S McAuley 0-1, L Burns, C Curley, D Mulholland 0-3 frees, C Johnston 1-2, 0-1 free, AJ McCann, C McKenna, J Convery

Subs: R Drain for J Convery (37),

St Malachy’s: P Rogers, E O’Hare, D Maguire, C McAlister, D Quinn, E McCartan, O Kelly, G Mac Adhaimh 0-1, L O’Connor 0-9, 7 frees, R Eager 0-1, A McGarrigle 1-2, C Killyleagh, C Walsh, C O’Connor, E Logue.

Subs: S Murray for E Logue (43)

‘Tosh’ seal its for the Tower

Danske Bank – Gallaghaer Cup

St Killian’s Garron Tower 3-5 St Patrick’s Maghera 2-7

St Killian’s booked their place in the final of the Danske Bank Gallagher Cup with a last minute point from a penalty by right-half forward Canice McIntosh in A hard fought and thoroughly enjoyable game at Allen Park Antrim on Wednesday evening. The Oisin’s youngster went for the goal with his injury time strike, wanting to be doubly sure of the win, but Oisin Mulholland in the St Pat’s goal was equal to it and turned it over for a point. However it turned out to be enough for victory as the St Killian’s side held on for victory.

Five minutes into the game a Garron Tower win looked highly unlikely as the Maghera boys flew from the traps and were 1-3 to 0-0 in front, the goal coming from full-forward Fionn Carton and the points from Ruairi Biggs and Rory Boyle

However the north Antrim school began to edge their way back into the game and with McIntosh firing over three points from frees, and grabbing a great solo goal just before the interval, they cut the lead back to a single point.

Canice McIntosh was their only scorer in the half, pointing three frees before adding a brilliant solo goal right on the half time whistle.

It was St Killian’s who were quickest from the traps in the second half and a great goal from Cadhan Scullion saw them hit the front for the first time. When Scullion grabbed his second soon afterward the Tower boys were in charge, but a brilliant goal by St Pat’s Ruairi Biggs brought his team back into contention.

The tension was palpable when Pádraig OKane brought St Pat’s level with a pointed 65, and it looked like it could go either way. However Canice McIntosh sealed the win for St Killian’s, despite the gallant efforts of  Oisin Mulholland in the Maghera goal

Maghera : O Mulholland, O Doherty, O Burke, D O’Neill, S O’Kane, M McMaster, P O’Kane 0-2 (f), C Canning, D McCloskey, C McFlynn, D Hassan, R Biggs 1-1, R Collins 0-1, F Carton 1-1 R Boyle 0-1

Subs: PJ Glover 0-1 for D Hasson, C Bradley for D ONeill, U McCloskey for C McFlynn

St Killian’s: S Coulter, N Rodgers, P Morgan, A McAllister, C McLoughlin, Conor McCann, C O’Neill, L McQuillan, D McNaughton, C Scullion 2-0, N McLaughlin, C McIntosh 1-5 (0-3f, 0-1 pen), O Gillan, C McCambridge, Ciaran McCann 

McCloskey hat-trick sinks CPC

Danske Bank Mageean Cup – Round Robin 3

St Louis Ballymena 3-7 Cross & Passion Ballycastle 0-7

Three goals from man of the match Jack McCloskey guided St Louis to the semi-final of the Danske Bank Mageean Cup at Pairc MacUílin on Friday and in doing so ended CPC’s interest of this year’s competition, despite the face they won their first two games.

The Ballymena school had the better of things during the opening quarter and points from McCloskey (2), Callum Higgins and Oisin McCamphill helped the to a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after seven minutes, the CPC point coming from Christy ‘Bicky’ McGarry.

Two more from McGarry and one from Ben McCarry brought CPC level by the 18th minute but points from Daire McMulland and a goal from Jack McCloskey had St Louis back on top by half time.

CPC had showed well in the first half, despite facing a fresh breeze, and when ‘Bicky’ added another point ten minutes into the second half they were still in contention. However that was to prove their only score of the second half and St Louis gained the upper hand. The game was still in the melting pot entering the last ten minutes with just one score between the sides (1-7 to 0-7), but McCloksey showed his class with further goals in the 52nd and 55th minutes to book a semi-final place against Red High next week.

ST LOUIS

Calum Mullan, Dara Martin, Kevin O’Boyle, Pearce Patterson, Daire McMullan, Conor Dickson, Connal McCloskey, Finn Henry, Aodhan McGarry, Darragh Patterson, Callum Higgins, Ryan McQuillan, Ronan McCollum, Jack McCloskey, Oisin McCamphill.

CPC

Criostaí McAuley, Patrick McAlonan, James Bakewell, Cahir Connolly, Jack Colgan, Ruairi McCormick, Eoin Boylan, Darragh Kelly, Ben McGarry, Christy McGarry, Tiernan Heggarty, Ben O’kane, Gavin McToal, Orann Donnelly, Cahir Donnelly

Referee – Patrick Tumelty.

McGarry’s late point gives CPC victory

Danske Bank Mageean Cup

Cross & Passion Ballycastle 1-8 St Killian’s Garron Tower 1-7

An injury time point from player of the match Christy McGarry gave CPC victory over St Killian’s in Friday’s second round-robin game of the Danske Bank Mageean Cup at Pairc MacUílin. Seconds earlier it looked like Niall McGarrel had given the Garron Tower boys a share of the spoils when his penalty, following a high tackle on Orrin O’Connor, had brought his side back on terms, something that had looked highly unlikely for most of the game.

With a gale force wind blowing towards the Rathlin end of the ground Cross & Passion went ahead with a point from Gavin McToal, despite facing the elements. Their physicality was better suited to such conditions and with ‘Bicky’ McGarry leading the line they looked the better side. Joe McLaughlin brought St Killian’s back on terms with a pointed free on eight minutes, but McGarry came back with a point a minute later and CPC led by a point at the end of a low scoring first quarter.

The second quarter saw CPC continue to hold the upper hand and when Orann Donnelly fired home from close range, after good approach work by McGarry it looked the would push on, but Joe McLaughlin’s frees were keeping the Tower in touch and they only trailed by two at the interval. (1-4 to 0-5)

A point from Ben McGarry just after the restart increased the CPC lead to three and everyone in Pairc MacUílin expected to see the Ballycastle school pull clear. However just as in the first half the team facing the elements ourscored their opponents. Not that there was a loto of scoring done by either side, so bad were the conditions.

Another Ben McGarry point saw Cross & Passion move four ahead it looked like it was all over, but when McGarrell pointed a free with just minutes remaining there was just a goal between them. Good work by St Killians Cormac McKeown created an opening for Orrin O’Connor, and when the Glenariffe clubman was fouled near to goal McGarrel stepped up and drove the resultant penalty low to corner of the CPC net to level the game.

St Killian’s defenders battle hard to keep CPC at bay on a couple of occasions in injury time, but when the chips were down ‘Bicky’ McGarry once again produced that bit of magic and his late point from a narrow angle gave his team victory.

Cross & Passion: Orann Donnelly 1-1, Ben McGarry 0-4, Christy McGarry 0-2, 1 free, Joe McToal 0-1.

St Killian’s : Niall McGarrel 1-1, 1-0 pen., 0-1 free, Joe McLaughlin 0-5 frees, Archie McSparran 0-1.

CPC

Criostia McAuley, Patrick McAlonan, James Bakewell, Cathair Donnelly, Jack Colgan, Ruairi McCormick, Eoin Boylan, Darragh Kelly, Ben McGarry, Christy McGarry, Tiernan Heggarty, Ben O’Kane, Gavin McToal, Orran Donnelly.

ST KILLIAN’S

John V Morgan, Josh Schnell, Mark McSparran, Killian McNaughton, Daniel Kearney, Michael Quinn, Odhran Gillan, Patrick McIlwaine, Padraig McKillop, Archie McSparran, Joe McLaughlin, Cormac McKeown, Orrin O’Connor, Niall McGarrel, Seanie McIntosh.

Referee – Patrick Tummelty (Lamh Dhearg)