St. Michael’s boys put up a battling performance

The St. Michael's squad.
The St. Michael's squad.

St. Michael’s Lurgan have been eliminated from the MacRory Cup despite putting up a brave fight against several more experienced teams.

The MacRory competition’s origins date back to 1917 and the Cup remains the most coveted prize in Ulster Schools football.

The St. Michael’s campaign opened with a defeat from Abbey CBS. First half goals built up a comfortable interval advantage with Shane Russell scoring two of St Michael’s three points.

In the second half, Ronan Reel struck fairly quickly while Ruairi McGivern and Joe Rocks became the second Silverbridge player to find the net.

The result left Abbey in a strong position at the top of the group but the match certainly didn’t set the tone for the rest of St. Michael’s appearances.

In the same week, the result proved to be much closer when St. Michael’s held their own against St. Patrick’s Dungannon to within five points of victory.

This was a much improved performance from the Lurgan side. Helped by a Conor McConville goal in the 11th minute, they trailed by just three points at the turnover before points from Eunan Walsh and Conor McConville lowered the margin to a single point.

Kevin McAlinden hit back against a Dungannon point with just four minutes remaining.

However McKernan’s goal settled the argument putting the Academy closer to the top of the table despite a strong performance from St. Michael’s.

St. Michael’s again put up a brave fight against St. Patrick’s Maghera, delivering a good performance and could well have drawn level about 10 minutes from time when Kevin McAlinden’s effort came back off the foot of the post. Maghera’s response was to work the ball up field and a minute or so later Conal Darragh found the Lurgan net.

The game had opened with a goal from each team and when McAlinden scored Lurgan’s second goal in the 14th minute, they still led at half time, 2-2 to 1-4 before a run of four points in a row from Maghera. The final score perhaps flatters the holders a little; Lurgan’s performance didn’t deserve a 10 points margin of defeat.

St Michaels Lurgan performed well against the experienced side Omagh CBS but ultimately lost out.

A goal from Mícheál McKenna left Lurgan just two points adrift at the end of the first quarter.

However goals from Gavin Slane and Cathal Donaghy pushed Omagh into an interval lead. Rian McKenna was the goal-scorer in the 50th minute and a strong performance brought Omagh CBS to the top of the table with an impressive score-difference despite St. Michael’s efforts.

Enniskillen player Lee Brennan scored a penalty goal, right on the stroke of half-time giving them a strong lead. Lurgan got a goal of their own at the end of the third quarter from Kevin McAlinden, but they failed to build on the score.

There was some good football played by both teams, but Enniskillen always looked the more likely winners. Despite five different Lurgan scorers during that opening 30 minutes a penalty changed the match and from then on Lurgan was chasing the game.

St Michael’s were condemned to a play-off by a narrow six point win from St. Patrick’s Armagh.

Lurgan had been playing well despite the score-line with two points each for James McAlinden, Conor P McConville and Shane Russell. Mícheál McKenna and Kevin McAlinden scored points on the re-start, but Matthew ógMcGleenan’s goal set the Lurgan side back a bit.

They soon hit back with goals narrowing the gap after 46 minutes. A second goal however from Conor Cullen in the 54th minute secured the win for the Cathedral City boys.

Despite strong showings, Lurgan found themselves in an elimination tie with St. Macartan’s Monaghan. St Michael’s were seemingly on their way to a quarter-final play-off after the SEM had failed to score in the whole of the second half until injury time.

However, two impressive goals from Niall Kearns opened up a gap. Despite Lurgan goals from Adam Kelly and Conor McConville a goal right on half time from Leonard McDermott put St Macartan’s back in control.

Tied after 45 minutes, Conor P McConville brought his tally to four points soon after and Mícheál McKenna added a 45 to open up a three point gap, before that late sting in the tail which left St. Macartan’s the victors.

Next year the St. Michael’s team hopes to build on this and are looking forward to improving on results gained from the experience of 2014 when they embark on the 2015/6 MacRory cup campaign.