In a remarkable encounter, Holy Cross, Strabane had just two points to spare of Colaiste Cholmcille in the O’Doherty Shield final on Friday.
Holy Cross, Strabane 2-11
Colaiste Cholmcille 3-6
The final scoreline does not do justice to the Strabane school, who could have won this game by a cricket score, and then again, but for a very soft penalty and a very bad mistake, which yielded second half goals, they could have ended as losers.
The reason for that was their shooting. They dominated the game, thanks to their mnidfield, full-forward Jonah Lafferty and most especially because of Tyrone minor Cathal McShane, who was outstanding.
Colaiste Cholmcille led 2-3 to 0-7 at half-time and their first goal was typical of the way game panned out. Conal Crawford had an ‘open’ goal for the Strabane school but somehow managed to hit the upright from three yards and Colaiste went upfield for Nathan Boyle to put Sean Duffy through for the opening goal.
Before half-time Crawford missed again from the same spot, while Damien Hughes fished home a second Colaiste goal on 22 minutes, which put them back in the lead after the Strabane side tacked on points.
There were other goal chances at either end, but most of the misses were from the Strabane school, who weren’t happy with the refereeing of Ian Molloy.
Half-time substitute Jason Gallagher had a goal and a point for Colaiste within four minutes of the restart as the Ballyshannon side remarkabley went seven clear
The spotlight on the man in the middle in the second period was from Colaiste Cholmcille in the second half, with the award of a penalty when McShane ended on the ground with 42 minutes gone. The Tyrone minor fired to the net and he also added a free to reduce the margin to the minimum with 16 minutes left.
But despite have almost total possession, they couldn’t find the target and it was only when a loose Colm Kelly free on 56 minutes was intercepted and ironically it fell to Conal Crawford and he didn’t miss this time.
In the closing minutes, both sides traded points, but there was no doubting that Holy Cross were the better side and were fully deserveing of their victory.
Colaiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon: Kevin Warnock; Adam Duncan, Eoin McGarrigle, Tom Hope; Calum O’Halloran, Colm Kelly, Eddie Lynch; Niall Harley, Damien Hughes (1-0); Philip Patton (0-1), David McGurrin (0-4,3f), Oisin Roper; Nathan Boyle, Sean Duffy (1-0), Conor Kennedy. Sub., Jason Gallagher (1-1) for Boyle, ht.
Holy Cross, Strabane: Jack McGeehin; Oliver Gallagher, Adrian Maxwell, Conal McCormick; Ryan McAleer, Dara McCauley, Conor Donaghy; Haydn McNamee (0-1), Ronan McNulty (0-2); Kyle Morrison (0-1), Cathal McShane (1-7,1-0 pen,5f, Marty O’Neill; Conal Crawford, Jonah Lafferty, Jason Sweeney.
Referee: Ian Molloy (Naomh Conaill)