St Macartan’s edge historic MacRory Cup clash in Armagh

November 22, 2023

Danske Bank MacRory Cup Group A, round two

St Patrick’s, Armagh 2-6
St Macartan’s, Monaghan 1-10

ST Macartan’s Monaghan had built up a head of steam before Donncha Gribbin from St Patrick’s Armagh picked up a red card in the 40th minute of this Group A game in the Box-It Athletic Grounds exactly 100 years on from the very first game in the competition between the same two schools.

After that card, Armagh were the team in the ascendancy and St Macartan’s only managed one further score deep in injury time, a free from Sean óg McIlwaine, that effectively won the game.

There was plenty of ceremony before Paul Faloon got the game under way with GAA President Larry McCarthy in attendance and meeting the teams on the pitch. But once the actual play began, the Sem dominated and McIlwaine picked off the opening two points.

Turlough Muldoon temporarily stemmed that progress with a breakaway goal for Armagh in the ninth minute, but the Sem responded quickly with Caolán Tracey setting up Ethan Ballentine for a point.

Monaghan were 0-6 to 1-1 ahead when John McCrystal stuck out a boot at a loose ball and put it in the Armagh net after 22 minutes. With each side scoring a point before the break, St Macartan’s went in with a five points’ lead.

That stretched with points from David Duffy and McIlwaine before Gribbin picked up the red card for something that took place well off the ball.

Armagh simply upped their game and Dara McCloskey quickly hit back with a goal and a point inside 60 seconds. Although Monaghan wasted a goal chance at the other end, they found it difficult to deal with the energy in the Armagh team and points from Pádraig O’Keefe and Dara McCloskey levelled matters a minute into added time.

McIlwaine responded with his side’s first point in 27 minutes but there was still time for a couple of Armagh pot-shots at an equaliser. They were wayward however and the Sem reversed the result of that very first game on November 21st 1923 when Armagh won by 3-3 to 2-2.

St Patrick’s D McCloskey 1-3 (0-2f); T Muldoon 1-0; S Kelly, R Nugent & P O’Keefe 0-1 each

St Macartan’s S Óg McIlwaine 0-5 (0-3f); J McCrystal 1-0; T Mallon 0-3 (0-2f), E Ballentine & D Duffy 0-1 each

Seamas McAleenan at the BOX-IT Athletic Grounds Published in The Irish News 21 November, 2023 20:31