St Eunan’s College will play St Michael’s from Lurgan in the McLarnon Cup semi-final next week after Colm McFadden’s side defeated St Patrick’s College from Keady at the Mid-Ulster Sports Arena’s 4G pitch in Cookstown yesterday
St Eunan’s 0-10
St Patrick’s College 1-5
The Letterkenny side looked in a decent place at the interval, as they led 0-5 to 0-3 with Oisin Carr at centre-field the outstanding player of the first period. With the wind then at their backs, St Eunan’s pushed that advantage out to four points after the restart.
However, a goal from St Patrick’s Gavin McAuley on 47 minutes acted as a catalyst for a comeback for the Armagh team, only for three excellently placed 45’s from Odhran McMacken and a late score from David Tyrell sealed the St Eunan’s win.
St Eunan’s opened the scoring thanks to a free from Daire McDaid but were instantly pegged back when Ruairí Fullerton was on the mark from another free at the other end.
However, it was then Carr got to grips in the middle third, reeling off three points for his team, as well as drawing a fine save from Conor McGivern in the St Patrick’s goal.
Another two frees from Fullerton kept St Patrick’s in touch, since Ryan Diver had to alert early too clear from his own line after a dropping ball in from Cathal McKenna wasn’t dealt with, there was a warning sign. Oisin Crawford’s late score gave St Eunan’s a decent half-time position, considering they had faced a gusty wind at the Tyrone venue.
The second half script opened conventionally with two more scores from the wind-assisted St Eunan’s, with Conor McEniff and McMacken’s first showing of his effectiveness from the 45, to give their team a 0-7 to 0-3 lead.
The match turned, though, when St Patrick’s awoke from their slumber and when a ball fell conveniently his way on 47 minutes, McAuley drove past Conor Tinney.
Despite facing the elements, the wind was in their sails and successive points from McKenna and Stephen Renaghan were on target. St Patrick’s were 1-5 to 0-7 ahead with just 10 minutes left.
But the way St Eunan’s steadied themselves would’ve certainly pleased their manager. Effective and intelligent in possession, they manufactured two 45’s and on each occasion, first to level and then to force the lead, McMacken was unerring. Tyrell then pointed in stoppage time to ensure the progression.
St Eunan’s, who last won the competition in 2007 when Michael Murphy was the driving force, are back in with a chance. It’s a competition McFadden also has his fingerprints all over after his starring role in the landing of the trophy in 2000.
“It was a great result and we battled well in the end,” he said. “We showed a lot of character to come back. When Keady got the goal it lifted them and that’s something you see happening a lot but our boys didn’t panic. I was delighted with the performance and everyone played their part.
“I don’t link singling people out but there was some great kicking from Odhran McMacken under pressure. But there were good performances all over the field and it was a showing the team can be happy with.”
St Eunan’s have to now play St Michael’s at some stage next week. The Lurgan side came out on top against St Patrick’s College from Cavan 2-10 to 2-9 in Cookstown on Tuesday. St Pat’s Downpatrick and St Louis from Kilkeel face one another in the other semi-final.
St Eunan’s: Conor Tinney; Conall O’Boyle, Ryan Hunter, Brian Hannigan; Daire McMonagle, Conor O’Donnell, John Fullerton; Oisin Carr, (0-3, 1f) Ryan Diver; Odhran McMacken (0-3, 3 45), John Gibbons, Oisin Crawford (0-1); Daire McDaid (0-1, 1f), Conor McEniff (0-1), Daniel Gillespie. Subs: Jordan McBride for Hannigan (47), David Tyrell (0-1) for Gibbons (52), Barry McGeehin for Gillespie (54).
St Patrick’s College: Conor McGivern; Tiernan Nevin, Eugene Grimley, Shaun Gribben; Stephen Reneghan (0-1), Padraig Lappin, Gavin McAuley (1-0); Peter Carr, Conor Morgan; Daniel Mone, Ruairí Fullerton (0-3, 2f 1 45), Aodhan Toner; Kieran Hughes, Cathal McKenna (0-1), Conall McNally.
Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry).