GAA Football

MacRory Cup: Blistering start crucial as Convent are kingpins again

Magherafelt skipper Eoin McEvoy holds aloft the trophy. Picture by Hugh Russell

St Mary’s, Magherafelt won the Danske Bank MacRory Cup for the second time in their history as two early goals proved crucial against first-time finalists Holy Trinity, Cookstown.

Man of the match Niall O’Donnell and Cahir Quinn got the majors for the winners and even though Holy Trinity closed the gap to three at the break there was always the feeling that St Mary’s were in control.

In the second half the winners tagged on eight points to their tally to emerge comfortable winners in the end and Ronan Devlin, a member of their management team, was delighted with the victory.

“To concede early goals when you are going into a game as underdogs is always a massive blow but I felt that Holy Trinity responded well and to be honest I was glad to see half-time,” admitted Devlin.

“We started to control the game in the second half and they played with their heads a bit more, something that we encourage,” added Ronan.

‘‘We had a couple of goal chances that we didn’t take and Holy Trinity kept battling on and I couldn’t settle that it was ours until a minute or two to go.”

Holy Trinity joint-manager John McKeever was naturally disappointed but he heaped praise on his charges.

“We are really proud of these lads, there was 64 minutes played there today and they went right to the final whistle,” he said.

“They have given us their life from the end of September last year. We had a slow start and to concede two early goals was disappointing but fair play to St Mary’s, they were worthy winners.”

There was only three minutes on the clock when Ryan McEldowney found O’Donnell who burst past a couple of challenges before finishing in style to the bottom left-hand corner of the net past keeper Rian Smith.

McEldowney then tagged on a brilliant point from out on the left wing, before Shea Quinn opened Holy Trinity’s account from an 11th-minute free.

Ryan Quinn then landed an outstanding point with the outside of his boot but three minutes later St Mary’s grabbed their second major. Conhuir Johnston caught the ball from a kick out to start a move that ended with O’Donnell squaring it for Quinn to coolly slot low to the net to leave Holy Trinity in trouble.

The favourites looked well in control at this stage but they failed to score for the remainder of the half as slowly Holy Trinity began to find their feet.

Quinn took a fine score from play from distance and after a few wides they closed the gap to three at the interval thanks to a point from midfielder Ruairi McHugh.

To have any chance of causing an upset Holy Trinity needed to start the second half well but it was St Mary’s who upped the tempo.

Tom Shivers opened the scoring from a free and they went on to hold their opponents scoreless in the third quarter, while adding points from Ruairi Forbes, John Lavery and substitute Joshua Cassidy.

Shea Lawn converted two tricky frees for Holy Trinity but either side of those scores the Tyrone school had a let-off when Cassidy palmed a goal chance off the post and Holy Trinity keeper Smith saved well from O’Donnell from the rebound.

Terry Devlin and McHugh exchanged points with Lorcan Convery and O’Donnell while the latter was denied another goal when Smith brilliantly tipped his shot over the bar. In the end, though, it was St Mary’s, Magherafelt’s day as they collected the most-sought-after silverware in schools football.

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GAA Football