Bright start fades for St Ronan’s as third quarter proves turning point

The St Ronans squad before their semi-final clash on Saturday night.

The St Ronans squad before their semi-final clash on Saturday night.

St Ronan’s College run in this year’s MacRory cup came to an end on Saturday evening when they met a very good St Paul’s Bessbrook side.

Despite an excellent start they failed to build on it and even though it will be seen as a hugely successful first campaign for the new school the pain of defeat is still raw.

St Ronan’s have made their mark at this level and now must build on this positive start in future years.

St Paul’s started with a point from a free but St Ronan’s replied immediately with a wonderful point from Aodhan McConville off his right foot.

Good interplay from McConville and Conor Turbitt then created a goal chance for Eunan Walsh and he blasted to the net to give the Lurgan school the lead.

It was to get even better when a speculative shot from the right was dropping short and Walsh was again on hand to help it on and to the net for his second goal and a six point lead. However, St Ronan’s failed to build on this and conceded points at the other end.

Despite the strong response from Bessbrook a Conor McConville free and a nice point from Kevin McAlinden after nice interplay with Aodhan McConville had St Ronan’s leading by two points at half-time on a scoreline of St Ronan’s 2-4 St Paul’s 0-8.

The third quarter was to prove crucial. The Lurgan school were too slow out of the blocks and had conceded 1-3 in the first nine minutes of the half.

Now chasing the game and struggling to get the ball in to their danger men, gaps were opening and Bessbrook took every single opportunity going. St Ronan’s were fighting hard and staying in touch.

Points from substitute Shane Russell and another free from Conor McConville gave them hope but they just couldn’t claw back the deficit that opened up in that third quarter.

The final scoreline St Ronan’s 2-6 St Paul’s 1-17 was flattered with a number of late points as St Ronan’s pushed for goals and were picked off at the other end. To only score two points in the second half of championship football was to prove their undoing.

With the majority of these players available next year this defeat will hopefully spur the players on to even greater heights next year.

St Ronan’s College: Ryan Conway, Sean McAlinden, Barry McCambridge, James McAlinden, Ryan Owens, Pat Branagan, Jack Haddock, Jack Lenehan, Conor McConville(0-1), Conor McDonald, Kevin McAlinden (0-1), Odhran Magill, Aodhan McConville(0-1), Eunan Walsh(2-1), Conor Turbitt(0-1). Subs: Shane Russell(0-1) for Magill, Aidan Mulholland for J Haddock, Rioghan Meehan for McDonald, Jamie Haughey for Branagan, Adam Loughran for McAlinden, Adam O’Connor, Odhran Magee, Eoin Henry ,Niall McCarron , Oliver McConville, Ruairi McConville, Thomas French, Tiarnan McKavanagh.