Danske Bank MacRory Cup semi-final
St Patrick’s, Dungannon 1-12 St Joseph’s, Donaghmore 1-11
St Patrick’s Academy have made it through to their first MacRory Cup final since 2015 after edging past east Tyrone neighbours St Joseph’s, Donaghmore in a pulsating encounter at Carrickmore on Saturday.
As expected, there was little between the sides throughout with plenty of quality on show from both sides.
Dungannon led by two points at the break and they doubled that advantage in the opening minutes of the second half, but a Noah Grimes goal sparked new life into the St Joseph’s challenge and the sides were level at the three-quarter stage.
The momentum looked to be with Donaghmore at that stage but Dungannon didn’t panic and their game management as much as anything else helped them get over the line to set up a repeat of the 2009 decider against Omagh CBS.
Joseph Corrigan and Sean Hughes had a brace of points each for their respective sides early on with Liam McGeary and Leo Hughes also on target before a superb effort from Owen O’Neill gave the Academy a slender advantage at the end of the opening quarter.
Galbally club-mates Hughes and Corrigan exchanged points from frees before a quality effort from Donaghmore captain Conor O’Neill brought the sides level.
In the final minute of the half, a long delivery in from Dillon O’Neill saw Lorcan Hegarty win possession before smashing the ball to the roof of the net.
Donaghmore, though, had the final say of the half from Eoghan O’Neill to leave it 1-5 to 0-6 at the interval.
The Academy drove at the St Joseph’s defence on the restart and when they won two frees the accurate Hughes converted them to put his side four clear.
Noah Grimes and Conor McCool exchanged brilliant points before St Joseph’s got right back in the game with a quality finish to the net from Grimes after getting on the end of a long ball in from Conor O’Neill.
Hughes and Corrigan traded points from frees before the latter drove over from play to leave it all square at the three-quarter mark, 1-9 apiece.
Donaghmore couldn’t get their noses in front, though, with the experience of losing last season’s semi-final at the same venue perhaps standing to Dungannon.
Hughes took his personal haul to 0-8 with another brace of frees either side of a fine effort from play from Conall Sheehy.
To their credit, St Joseph’s threw everything at it in an attempt to stay in the competition, with Eoghan O’Neill pulling on a loose ball to send it over the bar.
With the game deep in injury-time, a shot from Darragh Donaghy took a deflection on its way over the bar to reduce the deficit to the minimum but that proved to be the last action of the game.