Great effort from Maghera comes up short

April 01, 2018

Masita All Ireland Post Primary Schools’ Paddy Buggy Cup final
St Patrick’s Maghera 0-13 Coláiste Choilm Tullamore 0-17 (AET)
SHOULD there have been extra time in this Masita All Ireland Post Primary Schools’ Paddy Buggy Cup final in Inniskeen?
St Patrick’s Maghera could have not one but three claims on poor decisions from officials that cost them the title in ordinary time and would have avoided the 20 extra minutes which they had to play without influential midfielder Martin Quinn.
Early in the game at 0-1 each, Tiarnan McHugh raised a white flag from an angled shot. But the umpire’s decision was over-ruled by a linesman. Then in the 42nd minute a free from Richie Mullan was indicated wide, but the camera covering the game clearly showed it two or three metres inside the post! To add salt to the wound, the Tullamore equaliser deep in injury-time was a “soft” close range free.
And sadly it did come down to such small margins as Tullamore used the wind well in the first period of extra time to pick off three scores and lead 0-14 to 0-12. And that gap was just about enough to leave the Mageean Cup champions for the second time in three years on the wrong side of the score-line after extra time.
Michael Duignan, part of the Tullamore management team, was a swash-buckling midfielder during his Offaly All-Ireland winning years, but his son Brian won this game with his pin-point accuracy from frees, all his 12 points coming from placed balls. Richie Mullan hit seven for Maghera.
In a game where each team gave little space to the opposing defence, frees were decisive. Both sides registered plenty of wides under pressure, indeed Maghera had six between their second score from Fintan Bradley and their third, a Paddy Quinn point and could have been more than two points ahead with the wind behind them.
Nevertheless Richie Mullan (two frees), Tiarnán McHugh and Dominic Bradley opened a five point gap, before Brian Duignan scored the first of his dozen points close to the break.
Duignan made it 0-7 to 0-6 before the 42nd minute when Mullan’s free was wrongly adjudged wide, but the Ulster side’s defence held firm and Mullan added a 48th minute free.
Duignan and Cathal O’Meara levelled with four minutes to go, only for Mullan to land a breath-taking free from right out on the side-line.
Again Duignan responded but once again Mullan frees had Maghera two points ahead. And yet again Duignam from a 65 and close in free made it all square at 0-11 each and extra time to play.
With the breeze behind them Tullamore took control at midfield, winning five puck-outs in a row, and they took the lead for the first time with a Duignam free.
At the turn-over Maghera trailed 0-14 to 0-12. That remained the situation with Duignam and Paddy Quinn exchanging points until late on when, with Maghera pushed forward, Billy Fogarty opened a three point lead before winning a free for Duignan to clinch victory with his 12th point.
TULLAMORE: C Brophill, L Egan, C Burke, S Beatty, J O’Brien, D Egan, R Ravenhill, C O’Meara (0-1), E Curley, K McDermott (0-1), B Duignan (0-12, 11f, 1 ‘65’), C Brady, A Flanagan, B Fogarty (0-1), M Dillon (0-2).
SUBS: S Fitzgerald for A Flanagan (40), B Cleary for J O’Brien (blood sub 54, rev 57), C Doran for B Fogarty (61), B Cleary for C Brady (64), C Egan for E Curley (76), B Fogarty for M Dillon (79).
MAGHERA: C Hendry, N McNicholl, L McCann, O McGill, P O’Kane, T Walsh, F Ó Caiside, M Quinn, P Quinn (0-2), D Bradley (0-1), P McLaughlin, R Rafferty F Bradley (0-2), T McHugh (0-1), R Mullan (0-7f).
SUBS: M McCormick for N McNicholl (20), R Mulholland for F Bradley (blood sub 26, rev 28), R Mulholland for M Quinn (61), C McGilligan for R Mulholland (66), PJ McAleese for M McCormick (71).
REF: John Keane (Galway).