Sport

Late goal lands first ever Mageean Cup final spot for Red High

SEAMAS McALEENAN

Danske Bank Mageean Cup semi-final: St Patrick’s Downpatrick 2-17 St Louis Ballymena 1-17

A GOAL deep in injury time took St Patrick’s Downpatrick into their first ever Danske Bank Mageean Cup final after an exciting and intense semi-final in the Dub Arena last night.

Player of the match Tom McGrattan played a beautiful cros-field pass into the path of midfielder Finn Turpin who stepped inside the defender and hit the roof of the net from 10 metres out.

McGrattan had won and converted a free just a minute earlier to give the Red High the lead and the four points’ gap created by the goal was just too much for St Louis to bridge in the time remaining.

This game was played at breakneck pace from the start and that only slowed for a period after the second water break when it looked as if nerves were getting the better of both sides when it came to shooting.

After five minutes, the teams had each scored three points. By the tenth minute, St Louis Ballymena’s dangerous inside-forward line had found the net, Jack McCloskey cutting through the cover and converting off the base of the right hand post.

But within three minutes Downpatrick were a point up, with the brilliant McGrattan going around the left side of the Ballymena defence to rifle to the roof of the net.

Aodhan McGarry responded by pointing from a sideline and the water-break broke the edge of the seat action at 1-5 each.

McGarry started the second quarter scoring with a fine point but a run of three successive scores from Finn Turpin, McGrattan and Oisin Coulter edged the Red High ahead again.

However three frees from Jack McCloskey and a point from Ronan McCollam put Ballymena in the lead by 1-11 to 1-10 at half-time.

For the second half Oisin Coulter dropped back to cover Downpatrick’s defence and it cut out the space McCloskey and McCollam enjoyed in the opening half. But it also blunted the winners’ score-taking at the other end, although Pearse Smyth and McGrattan from frees kept the score-board moving.

By the second water break Downpatrick were 1-15 to 1-14 ahead with St Louis now looking for scores from distance.

The next 11 minutes went scoreless. In hindsight Ballymena snatched at a couple of scoring chances that might have put pressure on Downpatrick who pumped a lot of ball in high on the north Antrim defence with no return.

Eventually sub Tom McFerran brought the teams level and McCollam from the left wing gave St Louis the lead.

Oisin Coulter landed a much needed Downpatrick response in reply and they held firm until Tom McGrattan delivered the match winning scores.

It is scant consolation for Ballymena that they played their part in a fine display of schools’ hurling, but a number of players stood out including Daire McMullan, Connor Dickson and Dara Martin in defence and McCollam and McCloskey in attack until tempered by Downpatrick’s packed back line.

Defence was ultimately the winning of the game, but they would not have got across the line without Turpin, Oisin Coulter and especially the mercurial Tom McGrattan.

St Louis: C Mullan, D Martin 0-1, K O’Boyle, P Patterson, D McMullan 0-2 (1f), CDickson, C McCloskey, F Henry, A McGarry 0-2 (1 sideline), R McQuillan 0-1, C Higgins, D Patterson 0-1 free, R McCollum 0-5 (1f), J McCloskey 1-4 (4f), O McCamphill.

Subs: T McFerran 0-1 for O McCamphill (45)

St Patrick’s: P Smyth 0-2 frees, J Ruddy, R O’Neill, D Coulter, S Mageean, D Mallon, C Lenaghan, T Connolly 0-1, F Turpin 1-2, M Dorrian 0-1, A Connolly, T McGrattan 1-9 (5f), O Coulter 0-2, R McGrath, S McCarthy.

Subs: F MacManus for A Connolly (21), LMcCabe for S McCarthy (43), F Casey for R McGrath (58).

Referee : K Parke

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