Football

St Joseph's, Donaghmore win their first-ever MacRory Cup game; Dungannon produce thrilling finish to beat Magherafelt

Noah Grimes was among the scorers for St Joseph's, Donaghmore in their win over Holy Trinity Picture: Seamus Loughran
Noah Grimes was among the scorers for St Joseph's, Donaghmore in their win over Holy Trinity Picture: Seamus Loughran Noah Grimes was among the scorers for St Joseph's, Donaghmore in their win over Holy Trinity Picture: Seamus Loughran

Danske Bank MacRory Cup round one

Group C

St Joseph's, Donaghmore 1-10 Holy Trinity, Cookstown 1-7

HISTORY was made at Pearse Park in Galbally when St Joseph's, Donaghmore played their first-ever game in the Danske Bank MacRory Cup and they made it a winning start with a three-point success over Tyrone rivals Holy Trinity, Cookstown.

Last season's MacLarnon and All Ireland champions were full value for their victory against a school who have appeared in the last two MacRory finals. The game was played before a bumper crowd in difficult weather conditions with fog making it hard for both sets of players.

Conor O'Neill wrote himself into the history books with Donaghmore's first-ever score at this level.

It was a cagey start from both sides as they appeared nervous, with Michael McElhatton on target for Holy Trinity.

Donaghmore, though, were the better side and efforts from O'Neill and Mattie McNally left them four clear at the break.

Holy Trinity halved the deficit on the restart but that was as good as it got for last year's runners-up.

St Joseph's defended in numbers and attacked at pace and it bore dividends. O' Neill was on target again before they effectively won the game when wing-back McNally got on the end of a high ball into the danger area to finish to the net.

Noah Grimes added a point as the winners moved half-a-dozen clear.

To their credit, Holy Trinity battled to the final whistle and they got their reward with a McElhatton goal but time was against them.

Our Lady’s, Castleblayney 2-10 St Patrick’s, Cavan 2-8

A GOAL from Max McGinty 10 minutes from time was the key score that saw Our Lady’s, Castleblayney start their Danske Bank MacRory Cup campaign with a win.

St Patrick’s were the livelier team in the early part of the game and they were value for the 1-4 to 0-3 lead they built up after 18 minutes.

Conor Sharpe scored the Cavan goal, while Daragh Noonan and Ben Tully were on target with points.

Castleblayney’s opening three scores all came from Max McGinty.

Jamie Casey then had to be sharp to deny a second Cavan goal in the 20th minute and a couple of minutes later Canice Murphy scrambled a goal at the other end.

Just before the half-time whistle, Jamie Mooney cut in from the right wing to kick the lead point for Castleblayney.

The second half began with McGinty and Ben Tully exchanging frees before Cavan struck for a goal through Darragh Noonan to put them 2-6 to 1-8 up.

Our Lady’s then intercepted a kick-out and McGinty was on hand to finish to the net. With Senan Hanratty adding a point, 'Blayney were now three up, 2-9 to 2-6, with 10 minutes left.

Although Cavan replied with points from Conor Tynan and Josh Shehu, McGinty scored his fifth point on a quick break to seal the victory.

Both teams are in action again next Friday, with Cavan taking on Donaghmore and Castleblayney up against Holy Trinity.

Scorers

Castleblayney M McGinty 1-5, C Murphy 1-0, J Mooney 0-2, E Treanor, D McMahon and S Hanratty 0-1 each

Cavan D Noonan 1-3, C Sharpe 1-0, B Tully 0-2, J Dugdale, C Tynan and J Shehu 0-1 each

Group B

St Patricks, Dungannon 4-9  St Mary's, Magherafelt 2-12

ST Patrick's, Dungannon produced an unbelievable comeback at Stewartstown to pip St Mary's, Magherafelt in their opening game.

Trailing by five points and also a man down they hit 2-2 without reply to stun their opponents and take the spoils.

Magherafelt had led by three points at the interval and when they doubled that advantage within five minutes of the restart they looked in a very strong position.

And, when the Academy had midfielder Dillon O'Neill dismissed at the end of the third quarter there looked like only one outcome.

Pearse and Dillon O'Neill swapped early points before Patrick Birt palmed in a 13th-minute goal for St Mary's. Dungannon, though, responded with two majors of their own from Fiacra Nelis and Sean Hughes to get their noses in front.

But, it was Magherafelt who closed out the half on top with points from Rory Small and Dara McKenna coming either side of a Small goal to leave it 2-5 to 2-2.

A brace of points from O'Neill was followed by one from Small as St Mary's picked up were they had left off on the restart.

Hughes and Liam McGeary responded for Dungannon before Birt had a brace for the Derry lads.

When O'Neill converted a 54th-minute free it was 2-12 to 2-7 but Magherafelt failed to score again.

Conor Holmes began the Dungannon comeback with a point before midfielder Hughes got his second goal of the game in the 58th minute.

The same player then added a free to level matters but the drama wasn't finished as the game went into injury-time, with centre half-forward Matthew Quinn proving to be the match-winner with Dungannon's fourth goal.

Scorers

Dungannon S Hughes 2-3 (3F), L McGeary 0-4 (1M), F Nelis 1-0, M Quinn 1-0, Dillon O'Neill 0-1, C Holmes 0-1

Magherafelt P O'Neill 0-5(2F), P Birt 1-2, R Small 1-2, J Sargant 0-1, D McKenna 0-1, C Higgins 0-1

St Colman’s, Newry 1-8 St Michael’s, Enniskillen 1-8

THE Duffy brothers combined to grab a draw for St Colman’s, Newry in the dying seconds of this tie in Clones.

With seven minutes left, St Michael’s looked comfortable as Michael Burns’ point gave them a lead of 1-8 to 0-6. Dara Mussen pointed twice to narrow the gap but time was running out on Newry.

However, they turned over possession and Eoin Duffy was hauled down in the goal area for a penalty that his brother Ryan despatched to break Enniskillen hearts.

St Michael’s had dominated for most of the game. They led by 1-4 to a single point from Duffy after 20 minutes. Sean Corry was the goalscorer and Mattie McDermott made it 1-5 to 0-3 at the break.

The teams exchanged two points each during the opening 20 minutes of the second half with Tiarnán Swift, Rees Love, Steven O’Brien and Sean Corry keeping Enniskillen in command.

However, those two late points from Mussen brought his tally to six and left St Colman’s in with a chance that they duly took when they got the quick break.

Scorers

St Colman’s D Mussen 0-6; R Duffy 1-1; A Garvey 0-1

St Michael’s S Corry 1-0; C O’Hanlon 0-3; M McDermott 0-2; D Cathcart, R Love & M Burns 0-1

Group A

Abbey CBS, Newry 3-5 St Patrick’s, Armagh 0-13

TWO goals at the start of the second half killed off the challenge of St Patrick’s, Armagh in Páirc Esler on Wednesday evening.

Up until then, they were in with a chance of getting something from this game, but Rory Powell’s goal in the 45th minute, followed four minutes later by a third Abbey goal from Conor McGeogh, opened a gap in the scoreboard that they didn’t have time to close.

That goal made it 3-5 to 0-7 and although Armagh launched a grandstand finish with the last six points, they were still a point short when the final whistle blew.

Armagh went 0-2 to 0-1 ahead early in the game but Harry Lynch’s goal in the 12th minute edged Abbey CBS into the lead for the first time. Points from Nathan Horsfield, Pauric O’Keefe and corner-back Paul Hendron drew the teams level, but Daragh Saul’s late score put Abbey in with a 1-3 to 0-5 lead at the break.

Powell and McClosley traded frees during the third quarter. Then McGeogh’s point was followed by those goals and Abbey were in the driving seat on the scoreboard.

Armagh refused to lie down and chipped away at the lead with two points from McCloskey and one each from subs John Joe Hughes and Jack Daly and Donnacha Gribben closed it further as injury-time beckoned. But they could only manage a second score from Hendron as Abbey held out for victory.

Scorers

Abbey R Powell 1-2 (0-1f); C McGeogh 1-1; H Lynch 1-0; D Saul 0-2 (0-1f)

St Patrick’s D McCloskey 0-5 (0-3f); P O’Keefe (1f) & P Hendron 0-2 each; N Horsfield, JJ Hughes, D Gribben & J Daly 0-1 each

St Patrick’s, Maghera 3-11 St Macartan’s, Monaghan 2-10

THE opening game of this year’s MacRory Cup saw two sides with aspirations of challenging at the business end meet in Stewartstown.

Having contested the 2022 Rannafast final, this eagerly awaited opener, certainly delivered. Maghera deserved their victory but St Macartan’s will take plenty of positives from the game.

The opening quarter saw the sides share eight points, Tommy Mallen opened the scoring for the Monaghan lads, before a trio of Ciaran Chambers points, two from placed balls, saw St Pat’s take the lead.

Sean Og McElwain, a free from Mallen and a David Duffy point restored the lead for the Sem, as both sides mirrored each other with packed defences and breaking at pace.  

Joe Dillon, a member of a hugely impressive Maghera half-back line, levelled matters with a fine long-range point before the accurate Mallen converted a free to edge his side back in front with 16 minutes played.

The first goal arrived minutes later. An attempted point effort from Mulholland dropped short and midfielder Dara McPeake beat keeper Shane Clerkin to the punch to fist to the net, to regain Maghera’s lead.  

Half-backs Henry Kelly and Shea Birt both kicked points for their teams before Kearns reduced the deficit to the minimum.

Maghera then struck for a second goal just before half-time, patient play from captain Fionn McEldowney releasing his full-back Bobby Butcher to fire home.

Crucially, Maghera started the second half better as points from Chambers, O’Neill and Birt extended the lead to seven. Killian Kearns volleyed home in the 42nd minute to renew hope for the SEM but Chambers kicked his sixth with 12 minutes remaining.

Credit Macartan’s they continued to fight and a strong finish produced a McElwain goal and Daniel Duffy almost set up a grandstand finish but his effort struck the crossbar as the game entered stoppage time.

The final play of the game saw Clerkin foul Chambers but the keeper redeemed himself with an excellent double save from a Chambers penalty.

Group D

St Paul’s, Bessbrook 0-9 Omagh CBS 2-16

Holders Omagh CBS made a confident start to the defence of their title with a comfortable win over St, Pauls Bessbrook at St Paul's in Lurgan on Wednesday.

With five starters from last season's Hogan Cup success, the Tyrone school turned on the style after the break following a close first half.

Ruairi McCullagh, Charlie Donnelly, Niall McCarney and Liam Og Mossey were all on target as they greeted the short whistle 0-7 to 0-5 in front.

They will feel that they should have been further in front as they kicked a few wides as well as dropping five efforts short.

A battling Bessbrook side kept in touch, with full-forward Fergal Boylan kicking three marks off either foot.

Omagh were more clinical after the break and they put the game to bed within 10 minutes. Donnelly and Paudi Dillion both pointed before full-forward Dillon capitalised on a poor kick-out to send to the net.

Sixty seconds later the same player scored another major to end the game as a contest.

To their credit, Bessbrook kept battling away with Boylan taking a fine effort from play, but Omagh had upped the tempo a notch or two. Dillon scored again before impressive centre half-forward McCullagh raised four white flags in a row.

Eoghan McKeever and Boylan responded for St Paul's but it was the holders who closed out the game on top.

Mattie Howe came off the bench to register while right at the end impressive centre half-back Callum Daly hit a superb point to complete the scoring. 

Scorers

St Paul’s F Boylan 0-6 (0-5m); K Rogley, E Kane (f) & E McKeever 0-1 each

Omagh P Dillon 2-2; R McCullagh 0-6 (1f, 1m); C Donnelly 0-3; N McCarney 0-2; L Og Mossey, M Howe & C Daly 0-1 each

St Ronan’s, Lurgan 2-4 Patrician, Carrickmacross 0-8

PATRICIAN, Carrickmacross will feel that this game in St Paul’s, Lurgan on Wednesday night was one that got away from them.

With 56 minutes gone they held a 0-8 to 1-3 lead. St Ronan’s closed the gap with a point from James McStay and then in the final minute of ordinary time sub Euan McAreavey was taken down for a penalty which another sub, Cohen Henderson, fired to the net.

To rub salt into the Carrick wounds, James McCooe pointed a very late free.

In a way, though Patrician, were the authors of their own misfortune. They failed to score in the last quarter and the goal for St Ronan’s in the first half came about after a turnover caught their goalie upfield and James Austin found an empty net from 40 metres out.

That came in the 23rd minute after Patrician had established a lead of 0-5 to 0-3 with two points each from Matthew Carlin and Conor Burns. It could have been even worse for them as they were caught a second time, but James McCooe’s effort to emulate Austin came off a post.

Although St Ronan’s led at the break by 1-3 to 0-5, Patrician hit three points in the third quarter through Carlin (two) and Tony Marry, while keeping the home side scoreless until the 58th minute.

The late blast of 1-2 made it seem like a smash-and-grab win but St Ronan’s were never too far off the pace of the game.

Scorers

St Ronan’s J Austin 1-1; C Henderson 1-0; J McCooe 0-2; M McGibbin & C Moore 0-1 each

Patrician M Carlin 0-4; C Burns 0-2; T Quinn & T Marry 0-1 each