Colaiste na Carraige U-14s went down bravely against reigning champions St. Paul’s of Lurgan in the Ulster semi-final in Irvinestown.
Colaiste na Carraige 0-10
St. Paul’s, Lurgan 2-8
The margin in the end did not do justice to the Carrick boys who battled against the odds to get within a point with four minutes left.
The physical Lurgan side used all means to stop the Donegal boys’ running game. The final free count of 29-6 in the second half came after the count was 16-7 in the opening half. The only deterrent handed out by referee Dermot Love was six yellow cards, and Carrick coach Neilly Byrne, was philosophical about it afterwards, wondering what had happened the black cards.
Colaiste na Carraige had the aid of the breeze in the opening half and started well with two Lanty Molloy frees and Brian O’Donnell, the most impressive player on view in the opening half, adding a third.
Shea Geraghty had Lurgan on the scoreboard on 15 minutes but Brian O’Donnell did well to win a long free from Molloy to fire over Carrick’s fourth.
It seemed to be going well for the Donegal boys as Aaron Doherty cancelled a Rory McConville point but disaster struck just before half-time when they were caught at the back and while Colm Garvey half smothered an Owen McConville effort, Shea Geraghty was on hand to slide home from close range. To add insult to injury Jamie Lamont put the Lurgan boys in front of half-time, 1-3 to 0-5.
Lanty Molloy, clearly struggling with the ankle injury picked up in the quarter-final on Monday, levelled matters within three minutes of the restart, but Shea Geraghty responded and the Lurgan side then got the crucial second goal.
It came on 39 minutes when Owen McConville was allowed field a ‘45’ near the endline and his effort was blocked but it fell kindly to Marc McAfee who fired home from close range.
The frustration of the fouling of St. Paul’s led to Lanty Molloy getting yellow when he lashed out, but in the final quarter Colaiste na Carraige showed great courage, hitting the next four points, all Lanty Molloy frees, to reduce the margin to the minimum, 2-5 to 0-10.
The effort, however, took its toll and with three minutes left, St. Paul’s turned over a Carrick attack and Shea Geraghty pointed to take the wind from the Donegal lads’ sails.
Befored the end Geraghy and Jack Haddock added further points to end the contest.
Overall, Gareth Doherty’s boys can hold their heads high. They played with their usual determination and this side will be a force at U-16 level.
Lanty Molloy battled gamely despite his ankle injury and Brian O’Donnell, Aaron Dohery and Gary Molloy kept driving Colaiste na Carraige forward. David Love, Ryan O’Donnell, Kenny Doogan, Cillian O’Malley and Odhran Doogan worked their socks off.
Colaiste na Carraige: Colm Garvey; David Love, Fionn Gallagher, Dillon O’Gara; Jordan Burns, Aaron Doherty (0-1), Tadhg McGinley; Lanty Molloy (0-7,7f), Brian O’Donnell (0-2); Ryan O’Donnell, Gary Molloy, Kenny Doogan; Gavin Moore, Cillian O’Malley, Odhran Doogan. Subs., Dillon Kelly for Moore; Cormac O’Leime for O’Gara (both 45).
St. Paul’s, Lurgan: Oisin Campbell; Rory Shine, Aidan Mulholland, Jack Conlon; Eugene Dolan, Jamie Haughey, Jack Haddock (0-1); Jack Leneghan, Marc McAfee (1-0); Jamie Lamont (0-1), Calum McGee, Tiernan Kelly; Shea Geraghty (1-4), Rory McConville (0-1), Owen McConville (0-1).
Referee: Dermot Love (Enniskillen)