27 Year Wait Over for St Louis Ballymena

October 23, 2015

Danske Bank Mageean Cup Final

St Louis Ballymena 2-16 St Mary’s CBS 1-9

THE turning point in tonight’s Danske Bank Mageean Cup final at the Dub came as early as the 12th minute when former All-Ireland final referee Dickie Murphy handed St Mary’s full-back Chris Gallagher his second yellow card for a reckless challenge on the edge of his own goal area.

St Louis Ballymena had already set out their stall and taken control with Conal Cunning racing clear in the fifth minute to fire home the opening goal.

In fairness St Mary’s had responded and were trailing by 1-2 to 0-3 when the red card came, but, a player down, they struggled to make an impact on a strong Ballymena side that bridged a 27 year gap to land only the school’s second Mageean Cup title.

They were dominant in many areas of the pitch particularly for the rest of the opening half. Defence was solid with an extra player or sometimes two for cover, while midfield and half-forward were able to break the tackle and either draw fouls or find the scoring range themselves.

James McNaughton emerged as Player of the Match with his accuracy from frees combined with strong running particularly during the second half.

St Mary’s worked hard in defence to cope with the pace and movement of the Ballymena forwards but their forwards couldn’t make a dent in an every increasing Ballymena lead.

In the second half St Mary’s hit almost as many wides as St Louis had in the opening half and, trailing by at least a couple of goals, each miss was as good as a score for the opposition.

Apart from the Cunning goal, St Mary’s were doing well early in the game, but James McNaughton added salt to the red card by pointing the free. He added four more frees before the break pulling his side 1-10 to 0-3 ahead with a minute to go.

Then a long free from Conor Carson dropped in the St Louis area. There were enough defenders to deal with it, but somehow it made it across the line and a possible boost for the Belfast side?

However St Louis nailed the win in the opening four minutes of the second half – a point for Seaan Elliott was followed by one from Keelan Molloy and a third Dunloy man, Ciaran Elliott swept home a goal.

From there until the end, there was only going to be one winner, despite Ronan Beatty shooting five more points for St Mary’s.

St Louis : R Elliott, C Rice, D Martin, S McKinley, C Ferris, C McMullan, R McGarry, S Duffin 0-1 free, E O’Neill 0-1, R Graham, K Molloy 0-3, C Cunning 1-2, C Elliott 1-0, J McNaughton 0-8 frees, S Elliott 0-1.

Subs : M O’Connell for R Graham (37), P graffin for S McKinley (52).

St Mary’s : P Carlin, D McEnhill, C Gallagher, N Crossan, O McKenna, N Gibson, C Carson 1-0 free, D Clarke, C McLarnon, S Maxwell, R Beattie 0-6, 0-4 frees, J Darragh, S Shannon 0-1, CJ McKenna 0-2, T Murphy.

Subs : O O’Callaghan for S Shannon (12), A O’Brien for S Maxwell (40), S Shannon for T Murphy (49), P Doyle for C McLarnon (52).

Referee : Dickie Murphy (Wexford)

Photograph from Paddy McIlwaine