Tom Comack email@example.com @dgldemocrat
PCC, Falcarragh are celebrating a first Ulster Schools’ McDevitt Cup success following this afternoon’s final win over St Ronan’s Lurgan, in Owenbeg, Derry.
PCC, Falcarragh . . . . . . . . . 3-9
St Ronan’s Lurgan . . . . . . . 1-11
PCC are only the second Donegal school to win the competition in its 44 year history.
And they did so in some style, playing an attractive brand of fast flowing football with a good mix of hand and foot passing, on the lively 4G surface, at the Derry Training Centre.
In fairness to both teams this was a high quality open game of football with not a blanket in sight.
It was good old fashioned man to man football with the physically stronger PCC boys imposing themselves on the tie and they were the better side.
A feature of the game was some brilliant fielding and long ball delivery off the foot from both sides which would restore the purists’ faith.
PCC led by ten points, 3-6 to 0-5, at half-time after stamping their authority on the game after a nervous opening few minutes.
Midfielder Carlos O’Reilly scored two of the goals and full-forward Kieran Mulhern scored the other.
O’Reilly had a brilliant game and along with Conor Coyle in the middle of the field, was the launching pad for constant early pressure on the Armagh boys.
St Michael’s man, O’Reilly, waltzed through from outside the 45 to hammer home the first of his two goals for a super individual effort.
That was on ten minutes and seven minutes later he got on the end of a good move to smash home goal number two from ten metres.
This propelled Brian McDermott’s boys into a 2-3 to 0-3 lead after Niall Toye and Cian Doogan (2) had raised the early white flags.
Toye and Doogan along with Kieran Mulhern - who ended the game with 1-2 to his name - were in flying form in the opening 30 minutes.
Jonathan Hannon, Niall Greene, Niall Crilly, Oisin McAliskey and Liam Russell kicked the first half St Ronan’s points before PCC rounded off the half with a goal and three points without reply for a ten point half-time lead.
Blake McGarvey, Mulhern and Doogan pointed before Mulhern pounced for goal number three, four minutes from the halftime break.
The full-forward finished to the net after good approach play and a long ball delivery into Blake McGarvey who in turn squared for Mulhern to drill to the net.
PCC, through Mulhern, went 11 up within two minutes of the restart.
And while McAliskey and Russell - St Ronan’s two best players - responded with two quick points, PCC looked well in control when Mulhern landed his second of the half for a 3-8 to 0-8 lead with 40 minutes on the clock.
But a well taken Greene goal and two quick Callum McGibbon points reduced the margin to five with a little over ten minutes remaining.
In between McGibbon’s two strikes Ciaran Coll pulled off a brilliant save to deny Niall Dunnigan what looked like a certain goal.
With the margin cut, captain O’Reilly slotted over from outside the D to halt the slide with eight minutes remaining.
St Ronan’s pressed in the closing minutes but all they had to show for their efforts was a point from Greene, three minutes from the end.
O’Reilly, Mulhern, Toye and McGarvey may the names up in lights afterwards but PCC had a number of top class performances throughout the team.
And in particular Shaun Curran and Keenan Gallagher at the heart of the defence. This duo, along with Kevin Boyle at wing-back, were simply brilliant throughout.
Abbey Vocational School, back in 1992, are the only other Donegal school to win the McDevitt Cup.