St. Mary’s winners of the Shane Mulholland Cup in Ballymena

Ulster College’s 1st Year Hurling Blitz

All Saints Ballymena was once again the venue for the Ulster College’s Shane Mulholland Cup (1st Year hurling blitz) and despite intermittent rain throughout the day, the tournament was a great success and ran like clockwork.

Nine colleges took part in the tournament with teams from Antrim, Derry, Armagh and Down represented and at the end of a splendid day’s hurling it was St. Mary’s CBS Belfast who emerged convincing winners over Our Lady & St. Patrick’s Knock in the final.

The tournament was divided into two groups with Cross & Passion, St. Mary’s CBS Belfast, St. Louis, St. Mary’s Magherafelt and St. Malachy’s in Group 1 and St. Killian’s Garron Tower, St. Patrick’s Maghera, St. Patrick’s Keady and Our Lady & St. Patrick’s Knock, St. Killian’s, St. Patrick’s Keady and st. Patrick’s Maghera in the other group.

After two well contested groups it was St. Mary’s Belfast and Cross & Passion Ballycastle who advanced to the semi-finals from Group 1 while Our Lady & St. Patrick’s Knock and St. Patrick’s Maghera who emerged from Group 2.

St. Mary’s CBS defeated St. Patrick’s Maghera in the first semi-final with Knock emerging as winners of the second semi-final over Cross & Passion Ballycastle.

Our Lady & St. Patrick’s Knock were impressive in their win over the Ballycastle College but appeared to have left it on the semi-final field as they had no answer to a sharp and focused St. Mary’s in the final with the Glen Road school running out convincing 3-7 to 0-1 winners in the final.

After the final Maria Mulholland, mother of Shane Mulholland R.I.P., a former St. Louis pupil and hurler who the tournament is named after, presented the cup to the St. Mary’s captain while tournament organiser Mr. Gillan presented the player of the tournament award to St. Mary’s player, Shea McGarry.

Clinical St. Killian’s claim first All Ireland title

Tesco All-Ireland Schools’ Junior C final

St Killian’s College Garron Tower (Antrim) 5-14

Seamount Kinvara (Galway) 2-8

A clinical scoring performance by full-forward Clodagh McPeake helped St. Killian’s College Garron Tower to their first All Ireland camogie title when they overcame the challenge of Seamount Kinvara in Templeport, Co Cavan today.

McPeake had a useful ally in Kady McNeill who was the outstanding player on view in a Garron Tower team without a weakness with the North Antrim side dominant throughout and full value for their 15 point winning margin.

St Killian’s dominated the opening exchanges and looked to be coasting to victory when they led 1-6 to 0-1 after 20 minutes but the Galway side produced their best spell in the game when they finished the opening half strongly to close the gap to 1-7 to 1-4 with three minutes remaining to the break.

Significantly the North Antrim side regained their composure however and replied with points from Orlaith McAlister and Kady McNeill and when Clodagh McPeake added a quick fire double they had moved 3-9 to 1-4 ahead and were back in total control.

St Killian’s started this game with 12 players from Ruairí Óg in their starting line-up and took control from the start with Abi McNeill and her wingers in the half back line dominant. However the score was just 0-2 to 0-1 after ten minutes before Kady McNeill struck with a flurry of points.

Eimear Butler and Orlaith McAlister added points before Clodagh McPeake struck with the first of four goals in the 14th minute. Seamount looked to be struggling until Beibhinn Walsh goaled in the 20th minute and added a point as the Galway side had closed the deficit to just three points coming into half time.

That late first half scoring burst from St Killian’s all but killed off the Seamount challenge with the Ulster champions pushing home their advantage in the second half with the Galway girls only able to add two further points in the first 20 minutes of the second half, both from frees.

St Killian’s turned the screw and Kady McNeill and Orlaith McAlister added two points each before McNeill and McPeake added goals in the 43rd and 48th minutes to conclude their scoring.

Although well beaten at this stage, Seamount kept battling to the end with sub Nina Lina McKeown finding the net and Zoe Bergin and Mia Rodgers adding points but they were merely consolation scores.

Garron Tower controlled matters for the greater part of the contest with the half-back line dominant throughout. In attack Clodagh McPeake, Kadi McNeill and Orlaith McAllister were unstoppable while midfielders Cara O’Boyle and Laura Black were always on top in this sector.

The Connacht champions had decent performers in Zoe and Mia Rodgers, Ella Bergin, Lara Kilkelly and Rhianom Dalton but they had no real answer to a superb St. Killian’s side on the day.

St Killian’s: Louise Mulholland, Caoimhe Morgan, Eimhear McMullan, Maire-Claire McAlister, Aisling Mulholland, Abi McNeill, Cliodhna O’Hara, Cara O’Boyle, Laura Black, Kady McNeill 1-5, Orlaith McAlister 0-7 (2fs), Ellie Jo Butler, Eimear Butler 0-1, Clodagh McPeake 4-1, Orlaith McCurry.

Subs :. Maeve McAlister for C O’Hara (20), Rhianna Black for E Butler (HT), Eva McNeill for O McCurry (39), Niamh McNeill for C Morgan (51).

Seamount: A Barry, A Greaney, L Gately, C Crossan, R Dalton, Z Rodgers capt 0-1, M Doyle, H Corocran, L Kilkelly, L Shields 0-2 (fs), C Maloney, B Walsh 1-1, G Bermingham, E Bergin 0-2 (fs), M Rodgers 0-2.

Subs: NL McKeown 1-0 for G Bermingham (34)

Heartbreak for St. Mary’s

Hogan Cup semi-final

St. Brendan’s Killarney 1-10 St. Mary’s 1-8

It was heartbreak for the boys from St. Mary’s Magherafelt and their South West contingent when they lost at the death to a good St. Brendan’s Killarney in the Hogan Cup final in Mayo yesterday.

The Derry side pushed the Kerry men all the way before secumbing in time added on to a good St. Brendan’s side in this All-Ireland Post-Primary Schools Hogan Cup semi-final.

A contribution of 1-2 from the boot of Killarney captain Cian McMahon was crucial at a windswept CCE grounds at Bekan on Saturday.

It was always going to be a tight affair between two evenly-matched teams with the strong wind making life difficult for both sets of players.

St Mary’s Magherafelt had the wind in the opening half and raced 0-3 to 0-1 in front at the end of the opening quarter thanks to points from Ryan McEldowney, Conchúir Johnston and Derry minor Niall O’Donnell. William Shine kept St Brendan’s within striking distance with two points as St. Mary’s could only manage three more of their own before half-time.

It was St Mary’s who looked to be carrying the ball well early on and holding onto possession and that appeared to frustrate their opponents.

But in the 37th-minute St Brendan’s struck for a crucial goal when a cross by Cian Foley fell to skipper Cian McMahon and he didn’t miss the target as he drilled a low shot to the St Mary’s net and suddenly it was 1-4 to 0-6. 

Within two minutes St Mary’s responded in kind when a six-man passing move ended up with full-forward Tom Shivers drilling the ball to the top corner.

Killian O’Sullivan reduced the gap to a point but two points from Benen Kelly and Joshua Cassidy saw St. Mary’s move two clear after Luke Crowley had pointed just after coming in. With ten minutes left, St Mary’s led 1-8 to 1-6.

However, St Brendan’s took over with William Shine fielding some great ball as they penned St Mary’s back. Another Crowley point and a Cian McMahon special leveled the contest as the clock ticked over the sixty minutes.

St. Brendan’s gained the upper hand in the closing stages as John Kelleher kicked them in front and Cian McMahon made sure with a mighty point from distance.

Scorers for St. Mary’s Magherafelt: T Shivers ( 1-1), C Johnston ( 0-2), R McEldowney, B Kelly, R Forbes, N O’Donnell and J Cassidy ( 0-1 each).

St. Mary’s Magherafelt: J Gribben; C Heron, N Rafferty, S Matterson; R Wallis, E McEvoy, R Forbes; L Convery, R McEldowney; B Kelly, C Johnston, J Lavery; C Quinn, T Shivers, N O’Donnell.

Subs: J Cassidy for C Quinn (45).

Referee: L Devenney (Mayo).

MacRory winners head West

The Hogan Cup ‘A’ Championship

St Brendan’s, Killarney v  St Mary’s, Magherafelt 

Saturday 26th Feb – 5.30 pm – Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence in Bekan, Claremorris, Co Mayo. … 

St. Mary’s Magherafelt, who collected their second MacRory Cup title recently when they defeated Holy Trinity, Cookstown in an excellent final at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh, face another stiff challenge on Saturday when they take on St. Brendan’s Killarney in the Hogan Cup semi-final.

The Kerry seat of learning won the Hogan cup in 1969, 1992, 2016 and 2017 and will pose a stiff challenge for the Mid-Ulster College and the long journey to Clairemorris is not ideal for Kevin Brady’s side but it is a challenge St. Mary’s will relish.

The Derry school has a strong representation from South West Antrim with three players from Erin’s Own, Cargin – Conhuir Johnston, Tom Shivers and Benen Kelly, Paul Duffin from Moneyglass, Sean Byrne from Portglenone and Sean McAuley from Creggan. Jarlaith McKeating from St Comgall’s in Antrim is also a panel member but has been out injured all season.

The Saffron Gael have been following the fortunes of St. Mary’s this season as we did back in 2017 primarily because of that Antrim connection and we carried previews, interviews and reports with photographs on their MacRory success.

We hope to have a photographer in Clairemorris on Saturday and wish Kevin Brady and his team our best wishes against St. Brendan’s and on the evidence of what we saw at the Athletic Grounds the Magherafelt side have the talent to overcome St. Brendan’s and advance to the Hogan Cup final.

Antrim players contribute as St Marys win second MacRory

MacRory Cup final

St. Mary’s Magherafelt 2-9 

Holy Trinity Cooks town 0-8

Cargin trio, Conhuir Johnston, Benen Kelly and Tom Shivers made major contributions as St. Mary’s Magherafelt collected their second MacRory Cup title when they overcame the challenge of Holy Trinity Cookstown in an excellent final at the Atheletic Grounds yesterday.

First half goals from Niall O’Donnell and Cathir Quinn put the South Derry College in a strong position at half time and while Holy Trinity rallied after the break they were never able to get in for the goal that they needed to turn the game around.

The Magherafelt side struck first when O’Donnell burst through a couple of challenges and kept his composure to tuck the ball into the bottom corner in the third minute.

Ryan McEldowney’s point extended their lead, however Cookstown hit back through Shea Quinn and Ryan Quinn’s to close the gap but St. Mary’s struck a second deadly blow when Quinn found the bottom corner from close range on 14 minutes

Cookstown were finding it hard to turn possession into scores but late points from Shea Quinn and Ruairi McHugh gave them fresh impetus and reduced the deficit to three at the break.

On the restart Tom Shivers and Ruairi Forbes extended the St. Mary’s lead and as Holy Trinity tried to respond they were denied a goal chance by a resolute Magherafelt defence for whom Conall Herron and Eoin McAvoy were outstanding.

From the resulting turnover St. Mary’s broke and John Lavery and Joshua Cassidy fired over to put seven between the sides with 20 minutes to play.

Man of the match O’Donnell added a point to his early goal before Shea Lawn’s long-range free gave Holy Trinity a much-needed score as the game began to open up.

St. Mary’s looked in for a third goal but Cassidy hit the post with the goal at his mercy and  O’Donnell’s was denied by goalkeeper Rian Smith from the rebound, and a second well-taken free from Lawn and a point from play by Terry Devlin’s gave the Tyrone school further hope.

That hope was soon dashed however as Lorcan Convery and O’Donnell replied with points for Kevin Brady’s side before O’Donnell was denied by a brilliant save from Smith in the closing stages.

A superb result for the Magherafelt college and they put the disappointment of defeat for their ladies side by Colaiste Oiriall in the PPS final on Thursday behind them to turn in a superb performance and claim their second MacRory Cup win.

The strong connection between the school and players from South West Antrim continues with Cargin trio Benen Kelly, Conhuir Johnston and Tom Shivers all taking their place in the starting line-up and playing their part in a famous victory while Sean Byrne from Portglenone, Paul Duffin from Moneyglass and Sean McAuley from Creggan were amongst the substitutes.

Kevin Brady from Moneyglass once again managed the side and had Cargin manager Ronan Devlin amongst the coaching staff. Portglenone’s new manager John McKeever is the man who led Holy Trinity to their first MacRory final and while he will be disappointed with the result, his side certainly played their part in an excellent final.

St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt: James Gribbin, Conall Heron, Niall Rafferty, Simon Matterson, Ronan Walls, Eoin McEvoy (capt), Ruairi Forbes (0-1), Lorcan Convery (0-1), Ryan McEldowney (0-1), Benen Kelly, Conhuir Johnston, John Lavery (0-1), Cahir Quinn (1-0), Tom Shivers (0-1), Niall O’Donnell (1-3).

Replacements: Tiarnan McOscar, Lorcan Bradley, Daniel Kelly, Richard Drain, Sean Byrne, Joshua Cassidy (0-1), Aodhan Young, Daniel Quinn, Ronan Mawhinney, Paul Duffin, Niall Baine, Sean McAuley, Diarmuid Mullholland, Conall Higgins, Luke Burns, Eunan Crozier, Ethan Canavan, Darragh Young, Callum Campbell, Jaie Wilson, Adam Maher, Ciaran McKenna, Iarfhlaith McKeating.

Holy Trinity College, Cookstown: Rian Smith, Shane Hughes, Callan Kelly, Luke Cullen, Michael Devlin, Brian Hampsey, Conan Devlin, Ruairi McHugh (capt) (0-2), Blian Ryan, Odhran O’Driscoll, Shea Quinn (0-2), Jack Martin, Shea Lawn (0-2), Peter Loughran, Michael McElhatton.

Replacements: Conall Quinn, Mark Donnelly, Sean O’Hare, Keegan Hampsey, Ronan Devlin, Rhys Donnelly, Rian Nelis, Odhran Nugent, Daniel Woodhead, Karol McGuigan, Cormac Woods, Terry Devlin (0-1), Keelan Quinn, Shea Hamilton, Ryan Conway, Conal McKenna, Ryan Quinn (0-1), John Lagan, Conor Talbot, Ronan Coney, Shea McNamee, Cathal Heagney.