St Killian’s edge out Cross & Passion for historic Mageean Cup success

Danske Bank Mageean Cup final: St Killian’s, Garron Tower 0-17 Cross & Passion, Ballycastle 0-13

Champions: The victorious St Killian's side, Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 3rd January 2024 Danske Bank Mageean Cup final - St KillianÕs Garron Tower v Cross & Passion Ballycastle at The Dub, Belfast. St KillianÕs win. Captain Joesph McLaughlin is presented with the trophy by Danske BankÕs Oonagh Murtagh. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye (Jonathan Porter / Press Eye)

St Killian’s bridged a 60-year gap and lifted the Danske Bank Mageean Cup for just the second time in their history after defeating Cross and Passion in the final at the Dub last night.

Cross and Passion were first off the mark after Colla Ward felled Roan McGarry – who converted the resulting free, but St Killian’s replied instantly when goalkeeper Thomas McLaughlin picked out Cormac McKeown to drop over from range.

McKeown would draw a foul from Darragh Kelly and that allowed Orrin O’Connor to send the resulting free over and give their side the advantage that they would hold onto for the rest of the half.

Callagh Mooney extended the lead within 60 seconds before McLaughlin doubled his tally from play.

Killian’s made it four without reply and for the second time McLaughlin linked up with Cormac McKeown with a similar outcome to the first time they combined.

Cross and Passion replied before the midway point in the half, Ronan Fitzgerald made himself available and collected a free before swinging over to reduce the deficit (0-5 to-0-2).

It failed to the shift the momentum that was firmly with Garron Tower and they added another four unanswered points.

Orrin O’Connor grabbed his third point of the half after turning over the Cross and Passion puck-out and finding a score from range.

Ruairi Og prodigy Joseph McLaughlin then added three scores on the spin, the first a fine angled effort before converting two frees that opened up a 0-9-0-2 lead.

Cross and Passion remained in touch and claimed four of the final five points in the half. Roan McGarry added two further frees and Liam Glackin produced a nice score in-between times.

Despite McLaughlin converting an injury-time free, Ronan Fitzgerald doubled his tally with the last act of the half to ensure his side remained in touch, trailing 0-10-0-6 at the break.

Cross and Passion reduced arrears upon the resumption with Conor Donnelly floating over within 60 seconds of the restart.

St Killian’s Colla Ward with Cross & Passion’s Tiago McGarry: Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 3rd January 2024 Danske Bank Mageean Cup final - St Killian’s Garron Tower v Cross & Passion Ballycastle at The Dub, Belfast. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye (Jonathan Porter / Press Eye)

Oran McCambridge instantly replied, and St Killian’s stole a march again and established a six-point lead by the 39th minute.

Niall Magee added a point from range and Cormac McKeown brought his personal tally to 0-3 with an excellent score that had his side 0-13-0-7 ahead.

Cross and Passion free-taker Roan McGarry dropped over his first from play in response and Oisin McCallin then swung over after Ronan Fitzgerald dropped a high ball into the danger area.

Back-to-back scores from Cormac McKeown and talisman Joseph McLaughlin (free) opened up a six-point advantage again for St Killian’s with four minutes of normal time remaining, though Cross and Passion landed four without reply and ensured a grandstand finish was on the cards.

Ben and Roan McGarry dropped over back-to-back frees and in the 60th minute Ronan Fitzgerald landed a super point from play to make it a three-point game (0-15 to 0-12).

A further Ben McGarry free left it a single score game with two of the five minutes added on remaining.

St Killian’s held their nerve, though, and Joseph McLaughlin converted a free and dropped over an angled insurance score that ensured Garron Tower ran out winners.

St Killian’s: T McLaughlin, C Ward, C Devlin, C Graham, A Birt, C McAuley, N Magee (0-1), C McIlwaine, C Mooney (0-1), C McKeown (0-4), J McLaughlin (0-7, 0-5 frees), O O’Connor (0-3, 0-1 free), P McDonnell, O McCambridge (0-1), N Hynds

Subs F McKillop for P McDonnell (48), J Scullion for N Magee (60)

Cross and Passion: E Richmond, C Donnelly, C Baudant, J Magee,B O’Kane, B McGarry (0-2 frees), T McGarry, R Cunning, D Kelly,R Fitzgerald (0-3), L Glackin (0-1), P Martin, O McCallin (0-1), C Donnelly (0-1), R McGarry (0-5, 0-4 frees)

Subs C Crane for J Magee (26), A McGarry for T McGarry (48), G McToal for P Martin (51), C Crawford for O McCallin (54),P Martin for R Fitzgerald (60+3)