St Ciarán’s Take first MacLarnon titleMarch 18, 2017
Danske Bank MacLarnon Cup final
St Ciaran’s Ballygawley 1-19 Our Lady’s Castleblayney 2-10
A goal from James Wilson inside 13 seconds, 16 scores inside the opening 18 minutes and 32 scores in total, this Danske Bank MacLarnon Cup opener to a super Schools’ finals’ day had plenty to keep the early-comers to the Athletic Grounds on the edge of their seats.
It was an electrifying start for Our Lady’s Castleblayney, playing with the aid of the breeze during the first half, but St Ciaran’s Ballygawley worked their way back into the game and by half-time were well in contention, trailing by 2-8 to 0-11.
They edged ahead with a point from Thomas Hoy midway through the second half, but didn’t shake off Wilson and his comrades until a super late move was finished to the net by Callum Corrigan in the 60th minute of an exhilarating exhibition of attacking football.
St Ciaran’s joint manager Fionntan Devlin hailed the spirit of the team.
“To get hit by that early hammer blow, playing on a big day like today, and come back that takes character and I thought the boys, 1-15, stood up and were counted especially during the first half.”
“We re-grouped at half-time and came very strongly again, but credit to Castleblayney, they didn’t make it easy for us and there was no relief until that goal went in at the death.”
Corner-forward Darragh Canavan lit up the Athletic Grounds with his all-action style and three points in each half, all from play, to pick up the Pat O’Hare Player of the Match Award.
“Darragh is a great player, a great character and he showed great character in the first half. He showed for a lot of ball and took great scores, but this is a team game and the team as a whole got us over the line. He made a big contribution to that team plerformance.”
Canavan’s Errigal Ciaran teammate Cathair Quinn drove forward for a point in response to that early Wilson goal and Canavan fired over two more points as the shoot-out gathered pace with a 1-3 to 0-5 score-line after just ten minutes of play.
Despite playing against the breeze further points from Daniel Millar and Callum Corrigan edged St Ciaran’s ahead, before a quick move down the field opened the path for Aaron Courtney to off-load to David Hanley to find the Ballygawley net for a second goal.
Wilson grabbed the kick-out and pointed and a minute later, Courtney broke the cover for a goal chance, but blasted over the bar.
Canavan slowed the ‘Blayney progress by drawing a free that Caoimhin O’Donnell pointed and Pascal Donaghy popped over another for a breath-taking 2-5 to 0-9 and just one wide following 18 minutes of end-to-end play.
The scoring slowed a little between then and the break, but not the pace of the game and Wilson pointed two frees and Courtney found the range, while Thomas Hoy and a Caoimhin O’Donnell free made it 2-8 to 0-11 at the break.
St Ciaran’s spurned a goal chance in the opening minute and it took four minutes’ of constant attacking before Pascal Donaghy got them going with a fine point. Two from Canavan with Joseph Oguz’s excellent point followed as St Ciaran’s edged ahead.
Wilson responded with a free, but Canavan, Daniel Millar and and O’Donnell free pushed the Tyrone side on to a 0-18 to 2-9 lead by the 50th minute.
Castlebalyney threw everything into attack for the last ten minutes and Paul Traynor earned his corn with two good saves, before a quick break involving half a dozen players ended with Conor Quinn picking out Callum Corrigan for that late goal.
St Ciaran’s Ballygawley: P Traynor, M Lennon, Conor Quinn capt., J Murray, Callum Corrigan 1-1, Cathair Quinn 0-1, Cathal Corrigan, J Oguz 0-1, D Millar 0-1, P Donaghy 0-2, C Donnelly, C Traynor, T Hoy 0-2, C O’Donnell 0-5, 0-3 frees, D Canavan 0-6.
Subs : P McNelis for J Murray (53), J Doyle for T Hoy (5.
Our Lady’s Castleblayney: K O’Connor, T Geehan, C Blanche, S Markey, C Callan, F Connolly 0-1, J Gorman, T Duffy, H McGinn, G Kelly, D Hanley 1-1, D Drury 0-1, J Wilson 1-5, 0-4 frees, K Duffy, A Courtney 0-2.
Subs : D Caraher for K Duffy (ht), M Mooney for G Kelly (45).
Referee : Paul Falloon (Down)