The fall-out from St Eunan’s MacRory Cup play-off win over St Patrick’s College from Armagh in Dromore just wouldn’t go away.
St Eunan’s 0-7
St Patrick’s, Cavan 2-15
The 1-9 to 1-8 extra-time victory at last Monday week was dramatic in the extreme.
But with the Letterkenny side having three players sent off on the day - David Tyrell, Darragh McWalters and Michael Miller - there were always going to be suspension worries for Gary McDaid.
As it turned out, Miller had his two yellows upgraded to a red for his part in a late brawl, while Oran Hilley was also retrospectively banned for the clash against St Patrick’s from Cavan on Saturday in the quarter-final at Dunmoyle, Co Tyrone.
Had St Eunan’s had the four aforementioned players available it’s arguable whether they would’ve contained last year’s semi-finalists. Probably not.
Instead, all the quartet could do was stand on the sidelines and shout on their encouragement.
St Patrick’s College had, by half-time, effectively put the contest to bed; heading for the changing rooms 2-10 to 0-4 in front as they shared jokes on the way off.
Thomas Galligan palmed home a ninth minute goal when he was set-up by Matthew McKenna at a stage when the warning bells could be heard louder for St Eunan’s than they might’ve anticipated.
When the teams met in the group stages in October, there was only three points between them, with St Eunan’s losing 1-12 to 1-9.
On Saturday, the precise kicking of Pierce Smith stretched St Patrick’s lead out to 1-7 to 0-2 by the 25th minute.
St Eunan’s tagged over a couple of points through Kevin Grant and Caolan McDaid and then Niall O’Donnell showed a clean pair of heels to get in on goal.
Had O’Donnell goaled, his side would’ve been just 1-7 to 1-4 down - despite their shortcomings.
However, the centre-forward was unfortunate to lose his footing and within two minutes St Patrick’s had a second goal when Thomas Edward Donohoe smashed past Matthew Gallagher.
St Eunan’s, who struggled to get out of their own half for the latter stages of the period as Galligan and Brendan Argue mopped up all of Gallagher’s kick-outs, were 12 points down at the break.
The second half never caught fire and St Patrick’s saw out the contest without the need to over exert themselves. Grant was dismissed late in the day for two yellows.
His frustration was shared by those who headed off towards the north-west on the windy roads that surround the Errigal Ciaran club.
The Cavan flag-bearers enter the last four intent on going a step or two farther than last year, while St Eunan’s will find themselves back in the MacLarnon Cup come September.
St Eunan’s: Matthew Gallagher; Conor Morrison, Sean McDonagh, Cormac Callaghan; Connall O’Boyle, Paddy Diver, James McSharry; Oisin Shiels, Cormac Cannon; Kevin Grant (0-1), Niall O’Donnell (0-2), Caolan McDaid (0-3, 3f); Ciaran Kelly, Rory Carr (0-1), Ciaran Maloney. Subs: Michael Friel for O’Boyle (50), Michael Patton for Kelly (54), Ryan McLaughlin for Morrison (57), Aaron Deeney for Carr (57), Sean Halvey for McDonagh (58).
St Patrick’s: Fergal O’Rourke; Declan Lunney, Donal Monaghan, Luke Fortune; Darragh Kennedy (0-1), Cian McManus (0-1), John Joe McGovern; Thomas Galligan (1-0), Brendan Argue (0-2); Pierce Smith (0-5, 3f), Paul Leddy (0-1), Matthew McKenna; Brian Sheanon (0-1), Ben Conaty, Thomas Edward Donohue (1-4, 3f). Subs: Ryan O’Neill for Sheanon (5), David Wilson for McGovern (40), Barry McKiernan for Galligan (45), Patrick O’Reilly for Fortune (45), Conor Smith for Leddy (56 ).
Referee: Ciaran Brannigan (Down).