When Peter McKeever scored the goal in the 47th minute and Jack Loughran pointed within 30 seconds, it seemed that St. Patrick’s Keady
had found the momentum to take them to a first Danske Bank
Leopold Cup title since 2014. However, Gaelcholáiste Dhoire
, appearing in their first final at this level, dug in defensively and created the breaks to snatch the title in the final minutes.
Déaglán Mac Conmidhe from a free in the 53rd minute landed his sixth point and a minute later Jude Connery and Finbarr Ó Muirí combined to create a goal for Ciarán Ó Muirí. Then in injury time Cian Kennedy fired to the net with the Keady defence stretched.
The south Armagh side got the better start with goals from Conor Lappin and Conor McNally in the opening ten minutes giving them a five points’ lead. But they added just one more point from Jack Loughran over the next 18 minutes.
Gerard Ó Diolúin came out from full-forward to shoot two great points to get An Gaelcholáiste going and they drew level with a goal from Jude Connery after 17 minutes.
The sides were still level at the break, 2-3 to 1-6, but the Derry school got their noses ahead in the first five minutes of the second half with a point from Mac Con Midhe and a goal from Ó Diolúin after a mazy run from midfield.
It was 2-8 to 2-4 when Keady found their purple patch to hit a goal and two points and take the lead. However, An Gaelcholáiste stayed the pace with Cathal Ó Mianáin, Déaglán Ó Ceallaigh, Mac Con Midhe and Ó Diolúin outstanding.
Keady contributed well to an exciting game with Liam Rafferty, Conor Lappin, Seán óg McNaughton and Jack Loughran all to the fore. But it was the scoreless quarter of an hour in each half that gave their opponents the chance to find their feet.
Gaelcholáiste: G Ó Diolúin 1-2, J Connery 1-0, C Ó Muirí 1-0, C Kennedy 1-0, D Mac Con Midhe 0-6 (5fs), C Ó Mianáin 0-1, F Ó Muirí 0-1.
St Patrick’s: P McKeever 1-1, C Lappin 1-0, C McNally 1-0, J Loughran 0-3 (2fs), S óg Mcnaughton 0-1, T Fox 0-1 (f).