St. Eunan's miss great chance to take MacLarnon but live to fight another day

Tom Comack


Tom Comack

St. Eunan’s missed a great chance to take home the MacLarnon Cup as the final ended all square in the Athletic Grounds, Armagh.

St. Eunan’s 2-6

Holy Trinity, Cookstown 1-9

St. Eunan’s lead by four points early in the second half but then had to withstand a Cookstown blitz and were lucky to be on terms as the game entered the final minutes.

But then they went a point up but handed Cookstown an equaliser and then passed up on a great opportunity to win the game.

The tie will now go to a replay.

St. Eunan’s completely dominated the first half but were hit with two late points to leave them just two points ahead at the break, 1-4 to 1-2.

They got off to a great start with a goal from Brian Diver after just four minutes. Diver was on hand after Shane O’Donnell’s effort came back off the crossbar, which came after some great work at midfield by Padraig McGettigan.

The performance of McGettigan, Cormac Finn and Peter McEniff in the middle third was a highlight of the opening half, as was the tackling of the St. Eunan’s forwards, with the O’Donnells to the fore, forcing many turnovers.

After getting the opening goal, St. Eunan’s were rocked by a Cookstown goal in reply, Tiernan Mackle getting on the end of a high ball into the St. Eunan’s goal to flick to the net.

St. Eunan’s were back in front thanks to Shane O’Donnell after a Conor O’Donnell turnover and on 10 minutes Shane McDevitt doubled the lead with a free from a tight angle.

They had to wait until the 19th minute for their third point, Shane McDevitt punishing after Oisin Purdy was pulled back, and two minutes later Conor O’Donnell pointed from play after Shane McDaid turned the ball over.

However, they coughed up two late points to Cookstown, Tiarnan Quinn pointing in the 28th minute and Oran Mulgrew coming forward in the first minute of added time to close out the first half scoring.

Again St. Eunan’s started the second half well with Conor O’Donnell pointing inside two minutes, but this was cancelled by Tiarnan Quinn from a free.

But a second goal by Conor O’Donnell after great work by Shane McDaid had the Letterkenny boys in control.

Two Mark Devlin points cut the lead back to 2-5 to 1-5  as the game entered the final quarter. Mark McKearney added another immediately to leave only a point in it.

Tiarnan Mackle had the sides level on 47 minutes with a very good score.

Conor O’Donnell missed a good chance from a free as Holy Trinity also missed a free at the other end as the game entered the final ten minutes.

Shane Doherty drove forward to win a free on 51 minutes and Conor O’Donnell put St. Eunan’s ahead again.

Holy Trinity were pressing for much of the second half but were wide from a great chance while Conor O’Donnell was also wide with just over a minute of normal time left.

Then disaster struck as St. Eunan’s messed up a free which was intercepted and Conor Quinn accepted the gift to put Cookstown level.

But still St. Eunan’s had a gilt edged chance to win the game as Shane O’Donnell powered through the Cookstown defence to find Conor O’Donnell. O’Donnell had a simple chance to take his point and win the game but he went for goal and it was saved by the ‘keeper. O’Donnell also took the ‘45’ but it dropped short as the referee blew the final whistle.

HOLY TRINITY COLLEGE, COOKSTOWN: Conor Loane; Dean Canavan, Tarlach Quinn, Tiarnan McNamee; Oran Mulgrew (0-1), Conor Donnelly, Mark McKearney (0-1) Eoin Gallagher (0-1), Pauric Lagan (0-2); Kyran Robinson, Thomas Mackle, Shane Murphy; Tiarnan Quinn (0-3,1f), Tiernan Mackle (1-1), Mark Devlin. Subs., Eunan Devlin for Thomas Mackle ht; Aaron Moore for Robinson 40; Conor Quinn (0-1) for Tiarnan Mackle 52

ST EUNAN’S COLLEGE, LETTERKENNY: Eoin O'Boyle; James Kelly, Anthony Gallagher, Cormac O'Kane; Brian Diver (1-0), Peter McEniff, PJ McBrearty; Shane McDaid, Padraig McGettigan; Cormac Finn, Shane Doherty, Shane O'Donnell (0-1); Conor O'Donnell (1-3,1f), Shane McDevitt (0-2,2f), Oisin Purdy. Subs: Anthony Grant for McDevitt 44; Ryan Hilferty for O’Kane 50; Oisin Cassidy for Finn 56

REFEREE: Barry Cassidy (Derry).