St Columba’s Comprehensive, Glenties jumped the first hurdle in the Ulster Senior Schools championship with a comfortable win over East Tyrone at a wet and windy Convoy on Friday.
St Columba’s CS (Glenties) 1-13
East Tyrone 0-7
Nine points separated the teams at the final whistle and the winning margin didn’t flatter the Donegal runners-up, who literally bossed the game from the first whistle.
A Kevin Whyte’ goal in the early seconds of the second half set the Glenties boys on their way. They had led by three points, 0-8 to 0-5 at half-time.
From the moment Whyte crashed the ball to the Tyrone net the game was up and there was only going to be one winner as St. Columba’s took an iron grip and in difficult conditions hit five points to the visitors two in the remainder of the game.
St Columba’s started brightly and raced into a five-point lead by the tenth minute. The lively Ethan O’Donnell was on the scoresheet twice, with Adam McHugh, Odhrán Molloy and Kevin McGettigan clipping over to lay down the marker.
Daniel O’Neill, with two frees, opened the East Tyrone account but they were dealt a hammer blow when midfielder Sean Day was black carded in the 17th minute.
Conor McCahill and a Charles McGuinness free saw St Columba’s open up a five-point lead.
McGuinness was denied by a fine Campbell save and Whyte knocked over a well struck point before O’Neill posted four late points to reduce the margin to three as St Columba’s went in 0-8 to 0-5 in front at half-time.
After Whyte’s goal two minutes into the new half O’Donnell brilliantly set up Conor Bonner for a score before landing a brilliant point himself. And when Whyte raced in there was a real danger of a second goal by the Ardara man, but a late intervention saw the midfielder settle for a point that opened up the nine-point margin.
Corner-back Shea O’Neill and Aidan O’Brien stemmed the flow, temporarily, but St Columba’s sub Evan Spence should have hit a goal when he got through in the 47th minute only for Campbell to save from point blank range. O’Donnell curled over a delightful point and sub Stefan Boyle landed another in stoppage time for the game’s final score.
St Columba’s will now play Virginia College from Cavan in the semi-final.
St. Columba’s C S: Ryan McGonagle; Stephen Moore, Joe Melly, John Ross Molloy; Conor McCahill (0-1), Kevin McGettigan (0-1), Sean McMonagle; Kevin Whyte (1-2), Shane O’Donnell; Ethan O’Donnell (0-4), Conor Bonner (0-1), Adam McHugh (0-1); Odhrán Molloy (0-1), Charles McGuinness (0-1, 1f), Christian Bonner. Subs: J.D Boyle for McMonagle (44), Evan Spence for McGuinness (47), Stefan Boyle (0-1) for Christian Bonner (48), Liam Sweeney for Conor Bonner (55), Cian Breslin for O’Donnell (59).
Tyrone East: Jack Campbell; Caoimhín Donnelly, Bernard O’Neill, Shea O’Neill (0-1); Conor Loughran, Michael Morgan, Matthew Campbell; Sean Day, Conor Mullen; Caolan Devlin, Aidan O’Brien (0-1), Ryan Morrow (0-1); Daniel O’Neill (0-4, 4f), Naoise Martin, Chea O’Neill. Subs: Gavin Graham for B.O’Neill (10 mins), Ryan Magee for Day (black card, 17 mins).
Referee: Alan Nash (Derry).