Virginia hold on in tense finish to O’Hara Cup final

May 08, 2019

Danske Bank O’Hara Cup Final
Virginia College Cavan 2-12 Sacred Heart Omagh 3-8
From Kevin Kelly in Monaghan
Virginia College Cavan collected the Danske Bank O’Hara Cup at the Monaghan Harps grounds yesterday afternoon when they held off a spirited Sacred Heart Omagh side in a cracking game of football.
By the 24th minute it looked as though it was going to be one way traffic as the Cavan lads held a commanding nine point lead but Omagh hit a purple patch before the break to go in on level terms despite being outplayed for long spells.
Sacred Heart struggled for scores in the third quarter and when they fell six behind again it looked all over. But again they dug deep with Stephen Drumm converting a second penalty of the afternoon to set up a tense finish.
In those closing stages the Tyrone lads had chances to at least force extra time but Virginia did enough to hold on and over the course of the 60 odd minutes they deserved their triumph.
Team captain Turlough Farrelly led by example with half a dozen points to his name with Conor Smith, Sean McGeathy, Conor Smith and James Kelly others to catch the eye.
On the day Sacred Heart were best served by Cathair Conway, Shane McCaul, Drumm and Ciaran McArdle but they ultimately paid the price for slow starts to both halves.
Virginia sliced open the Sacred Heart defence twice in the opening minutes with Smith and Farrelly both scoring points. In the 6th minute a great ball from Luke Gillick picked out Dean McCabe who was fouled by Darragh Murray for a penalty. Worse for Sacred Heart they had keeper Murray black carded and Cillian McCabe slotted the resulting spot kick past substitute Mark Bradley.
Smith and Farrelly both tagged on points before Ciaran McArdle opened Sacred Heart’s account from an 18th minute free. Virginia though continued to dominate with Farrelly converting three frees in a row.
Sacred Heart were in deep trouble but they then kicked into gear. Full back Conway reacted first to the ball coming off the post to fire in a goal and 60 seconds later Drumm made no mistake from the penalty spot. Sacred Heart now had the bit between their teeth and amazingly they got level with points from Drumm and McArdle leaving it 1-7 to 2-4 at the interval.
A free from Ryan Tobin opened the second half scoring before McGeathy and Farrelly added points. In the 44th minute a poor kick out was seized by Kelly and he released Dean McCabe who finished in style to the bottom left hand corner of the net for a 2-10 to 2-4 lead.
A free from McArdle got Sacred Heart’s going again before the same player added a point from play. With eight minutes to go Drumm converted his second penalty of the contest and when the same player hit a superb point from play the gap was down to the minimum with six minutes left to play.
Oisin Tynan got a much-needed score for Virginia but that was soon cancelled out by McArdle from a placed ball. In a frantic finish Sacred Heart piled on the pressure but the Cavan lads held on to take the silverware.
Virginia College Cavan: O Rourke, J Murray, C Smith, M Comey, P Morgan (0-1), S McGeathy (0-1), M Smith, L Gillick, C Smith (0-2), D McCabe (1-0), T Farrelly (0-6, 4F), R Tobin (0-1, 1F), O Tynan (0-1), C McCabe (1-0), J Kelly.
Sub: J Husband for Murray
Sacred Heart Omagh: D Murray, J Gallagher, C Conway (1-0), C Kelly, F Glackin, S McCaul, F Patterson, P Goan, S McKenna, T Campbell, S Drumm (2-2, 2-0 penalties), C McArdle (0-6, 4F), T Cunningham, M Hayes, T Cox.
Subs: M Bradley for Murray (black card), T Mullan for Campbell
Referee: N McKenna, Monaghan
Pic curtesy of Teamtalkmag