Coláiste na Carraige finally got their hands on the Ulster Schools U-16 Arthurs Cup following Tuesday’s final victory over Breifne College from Cavan, in Healy Park, Omagh.
Coláiste na Carraige . . . 2-11
Breifne College . . . . . . . 1-8
This was a sweet victory for the South West nursery who were playing in their fourth Arthurs final in six years. And the win was especially sweet as the bulk of the team suffered the heartbreak of extra-time defeat in last year’s final against St Mary’s, Clady, Derry.
Coláiste na Carraige have produced quality teams down the years at all levels but there is something special about this side which has quality from one to 15.
They have a ferocious work ethic matched with no little skill and in Brian O’Donnell, Aaron Doherty, Lanty Molloy and Gary Molloy, they have four gems of real quality.
O’Donnell kicked two points from midfield in a man of the match performance while Doherty, who shares the captain’s armband with O’Donnell, scored six of their 11 points, five of them from placed balls.
Lanty Molloy also got in on the scoring act and posted two points; one of them early in the second half after a run from deep was a hammer blow for the Cavan boys after early second period pressure. Gary Molloy did not get on the score sheet but prodded and probed all afternoon and had a very good first half when the Donegal boys laid down their platform for their victory.
But there were others, too, that stepped up when required. Colm Garvey pulled off a number of top class saves and his block to deny Cormac Wall in the opening seconds of the second period was big moment.
Fionn Gallagher also had a good outing at full-back and marshalled his defence well to confine the Cavan boys to just a goal and eight points with the goal from the penalty spot scored deep injury time and with the Coláiste na Carraige ribbons already on the Arthurs Cup.
David Love scored the two goals; the first in the opening half was a tap in and the second late on drove home from ten metres begun the celebrations.
The first goal gave the Donegal champions, who got off to a flying start with four points in the opening ten minutes, a 1-6 to 0-3 half-time lead.
Aaron Doherty with three points and Lanty Molloy and O’Donnell with one each were the Coláiste na Carraige’s first half scorers. Sean Martin with two and Dylan Molloy with one were the Breifne boys first half point scorers with Molloy hitting their first 17 minutes into the game.
The Cavan boys did apply early pressure on the resumption and Colm Garvey was forced to pull off a flying save when he got a boot to a Cormac Wall first time strike from five metres.
Breifne spurned a few more chances before Lanty Molloy finished off a patient build up to kick the the opening point of the second period to edge Coláiste na Carraige out to a seven point lead, 1-7 to 0-3.
With Luke and Dylan Molloy and Wall upping their games, Breifne kicked two points to Coláiste na Carraige’s one, to reduce the margin to six points by the end of the third quarter.
But with O’Donnell running himself to a standstill, Teague McGinley and Aaron Doherty kicked points to maintain the Donegal champions’ six point advantage with a little over ten minutes on the clock.
And it was celebration time on 58 minutes when Love struck for goal number two and a 2-11 to 0-8 lead.
The Breifne goal, deep in injury time from the penalty spot converted by Wall after Callum Lynch was fouled, was no more than a consolation score for the Cavan boys.
Coláiste na Carraige: Colm Garvey; Jordan Burns, Fionn Gallagher, Gavin Moore; Kenny Doogan, Aaron Doherty (0-6,5f), Cormac O’Leime; Brian O'Donnell (0-2), Oran Doogan; Gary Molloy, Lanty Molloy (0-2), Michael Lyons; Ryan O'Donnell, David Love (2-0), Tadgh McGinley(0-1). Subs: Oisin Byrne for M Lyons (44); Caolan Curran for R O’Donnell (60).
Breifne College: Max Morgan; Max O’Dea, Brian Foley, Jamie Cooney; Jake McGovern, Ryan Coyle (0-1), Dylan Molloy (0-2); Daniel Cusack, Luke Molloy; Christopher Lynch, Cormac Wall (1-2, 1-0 pen), Finbar Moore; Dylan McMullan (0-1), Callum Lynch, Sean Martin (0-2,1f). Subs:Tristan Lynch for C Smith (37); Mark Brady for F Moore(47)
Referee: Stephen McNamee (Tyrone).