St Mary’s & CPC qualify for Gallagher Cup final

June 02, 2017

Danske Bank Gallagher Cup semi-finals

Cross & Passion Ballycastle 4-8 St Louis Ballymena 0-8

St Mary’s Belfast 1-12 St Killian’s Garron Tower 1-7

Next week’s final of the Danske Bank Gallagher Cup will feature Cross and Passion Ballycastle and St Mary’s Belfast after the pair came through their semi-final tests in Loughgiel and Ballymena yesterday afternoon.

St Mary’s conceded a second minute goal to St Killian’s Garron Tower, but recovered to take a five points lead at the break. They had wind advantage in the opening half, but Ruairi Murray, Paul McLaughlin, Caolan Ó Duifín and Darragh Murphy dug in deep to turn the tide.

A solo goal from Liam Carr after 16 minutes helped their situation considerably putting them ahead by 1-2 to 1-0 and, while St Killian’s enjoyed a good portion of the possession, they were badly off target even messing up a couple of one-on-ones with the St Mary’s goalie.

Darragh Murphy contributed three points as the Belfast side took a 1-6 to 1-1 interval lead, Euan McSparran the early goal-scorer for the Tower.

St Killian’s came back into contention with the wind behind them, reducing the lead to a single point 1-8 to 1-7 with ten minutes left. During that period Pearse McKeegan, Aidan Scullion and Ciaran Magill had the Glen Road school in defensive mode.

However St Mary’s won a couple of frees for Murphy to convert and they finished strongly to claim their spot in the decider.

The north Antrim derby in Loughgiel proved a lot closer than expected with St Louis digging deep against Cross and Passion. However Ballycastle’s ability to grab goals at key points in the contested ultimately saw them through.

By half-time just a 16th minute goal from Damien Quinn separated the sides at 1-5 to 0-5. Paudie McGilligan, Ruairi McCloskey and Colla McDonnell hurling well for Ballymena.

Dylon Devlin however stepped in to deliver a confident performance at centre-half back in place of the injured Enda óg McGarry and he was well supported by Rian McMullan and Conal McGlynn.

McMullan claimed the second Ballycastle goal four minutes into the second half when his punt from long range skidded off the surface and into the corner of the Ballymena net.

Colla McDonnell, Paudie McGilligan and Patrick Dougan responded with points to keep St Louis in touch, but they didn’t have Ballycastle’s finishing power and late goals from Caolan O’Connor and Michael O’Boyle killed them off.

St Mary’s : Liam Carr 1-2, Darragh Murphy 0-6, 0-5 frees, Jay Burns 0-2, Conor Boyle 0-1, Niall Fallon 0-1.

St Killian’s Euan McSparran 1-0, Fintan McQuillan 0-3 frees, Ciaran Magill 0-2, Gabriel Leech 0-1, Shea McDonnell 0-1.

Cross & Passion : Michael O’Boyle 1-5, 0-4 frees, Damian Quinn 1-1, Rian McMullan 1-1, Caolan O’Connor 1-0, Oisin Elliott 0-1.

St Louis : Padraig McGilligan 0-4 frees, Colla McDonnell 0-2, Eoin McFerran 0-1, Patrick Dougan 0-1.

Photographs curtesy of Patrick McIlwaine (Ballymena)