Ronan’s into first final after brilliant Armagh derbyFebruary 23, 2018
Danske Bank MacRory Cup semi-final
St Ronan’s Lurgan 2-11 St Patrick’s Armagh 1-13
From Kevin Kelly in the Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Eoin McConville was the hero at the Athletic Grounds last night as he struck for a winning goal three minutes into injury time to send St Ronan’s Lurgan into their first Danske Bank MacRory Cup Final.
It was heartache for St Patrick’s Armagh who more than played their part in an outstanding advert for Ulster Schools’ football and they can count themselves unlucky not to have at least forced a replay.
St Patrick’s had the wind at their backs in the first half but despite getting off to the perfect start they still trailed at the break.
Centre half forward Michael Conroy got on the end of a long delivery in from Michael McGleenan to finish to the St Ronan’s net in the 4th minute. St Ronan’s though responded in style and after McConville had knocked over two frees impressive midfielder Tiernan Kelly burst through to level matters in the 8th minute.
A superb Seamus Muldoon point edged St Patrick’s back in front but St Ronan’s grabbed a goal after a dozen minutes. Jamie Haughey and Kelly combined for the latter to send in a high delivery which full forward Leo Monteiro got on the end of to flick to the net.
Jack Lenehan tagged on a point before Dillon Horsfield got a much needed response at the other end of the field. St Ronan’s though were on top around the middle of the field and they moved three clear again through an outstanding effort from play from the left wing from McConville.
Conroy converted a free but moments later St Patrick’s had keeper Jack Gibney to thank for a superb save to deny Adam Loughran. A fourth point of the half from McConville stretched St Ronan’s lead but as the half went into injury time St Patrick’s finished strongly.
Full forward Justin Kieran came out to win possession well before landing a fabulous point and with the last kick of the half Conroy knocked over a wonderful 47m free to leave it 1-6 to 1-5 at the break.
A brilliant point from wing half back Jamie Haughey was followed by another McConville free as the winners moved three clear on the re-start but back came St Patrick’s through Kieran and Conroy.
Conroy then landed a superb equaliser. But going into the last quarter St Ronan’s had moved two clear again with Kelly and the accurate McConville on target.
Armagh though refused to throw in the towel and with seven minutes to go they had their noses in front thanks to efforts from Kieran, Conroy and substitute Ben Toal.
McConville and Kieran exchanged points as the contest slipped into injury time before the crucial score arrived. A high ball in from Lenehan saw Kelly and keeper Gibney go for it and it fell into the path of McConville who couldn’t miss an empty net.
Kieran narrowed the gap to the minimum and the same player had an opportunity to force a replay but his difficult free dropped short as St Ronan’s held on.
St Ronan’s Lurgan: L Mulholland, E McCluskey, A Mulholland, J Haddock, A McCreanor, J Lamont, J Haughey (0-1), J Lenehan (0-1), T Kelly (0-2), O Smyth, A Loughran, R Meehan, R McConville, L Monteiro (1-0), E McConville (1-7, 6f).
Subs: C Magee for McCreanor, J Megoran for Monteiro, M McAfee for R McConville, R Shine for Smyth
St Patrick’s Armagh: J Gibney, T Sheridan, C Byrne, O McKeagney, G Kelly, D Rafferty, D Murphy, M McGleenan, C Smyth, D Horsfield (0-1), M Conroy (1-5, 4f), J McCoy, S Muldoon (0-1), J Kieran (0-5, 2f), C Hicks.
Subs: N Boyle for Kelly, B Toal (0-1) for Boyle, T Weir for McCoy, O Hughes for Murphy
Referee: M McNally, Monaghan