St.Michael’s hold off late surge to reach final

St. Michael's who were winners over St Eunan's in the MacLarnon Cup sem-final.
St. Michael's who were winners over St Eunan's in the MacLarnon Cup sem-final.

St Michael’s Lurgan 1-15 St Eunan’s Letterkenny 1-12

ST. MICHAEL’S showed plenty of composure when put under the most severe pressure last Tuesday in the Danske Bank MacLarnon semi-final in Dunmoyle.

Donegal side St Eunan’s Letterkenny, managed by All-star and All-Ireland winner Colm McFadden, closed to within one point of the Lurgan school and had all the momentum going into the last five minutes. However, St Michael’s dug deep into their reserves and found that little bit extra with scores from Ruairi Loughran and James McDade. They will need similar character if they are to overcome a talented St Louis Kilkeel side in the final on March 18 at the Athletic Grounds.

With early points from James McDade (2), John Magee, Diarmuid O’Hagan and Ruairi Loughran, St Michael’s took an early 0-5 to 0-1 lead and they stretched it to 0-7 to 0-2 before two points from Daire McDaid and a disputed Conor McEniff goal brought the Letterkenny boys level. The referee appeared to blow his whistle after Jack Wilson took a kick-out and when the Lurgan lads hesitated the Donegal side pounced and got in behind the defence to finish to the net and leave the minimum between the sides. James McDade and Ruairi Loughran however popped over points late in the first half to give St Michael’s a 0-9 to 1-3 half time lead.

The game turned in St Michael’s favour on the restart when Ruairi Loughran fired home 1-2 in the opening 10 minutes of the second half to put his side 1-11 to 1-5 ahead. John Magee clipped over his second point of the game and when Declan Heaney, on for the injured Diarmuid OHagan, struck a nice score on his introduction the Lurgan school looked on course for a somewhat comfortable victory but Letterkenny would not give in. St Eunan’s dominated virtually the rest of the game and points from Daire McDaid (3), Aidan Sweeney, Conor O’Donnell and Odhran McMackin drew them to within a point of St Michael’s with five minutes left.

However the Lurgan boys rallied and the late points from McDade and Loughran saw them back in the decider for the first time since 2010.

It has been a real team effort to now with at least 25 of the players involved in the games so far and the management able to call on capable subs and make changes to the team when required. The commitment shown by the full panel of players has been a credit to the school, their clubs and their families. The heads are down now training hard and focusing on a top performance in the final. St Louis Kilkeel will be a tough challenge with the added spice of an Armagh – Down decider. The winners on the day will quite simply be the team that performs to the best of their ability.

St Michael’s: Jack Wilson, Jason Rogers, Drew McKenna, Adam Kelly, Aaron Casey, Shea Heffron, Eoin McCabrey, Oisin Lenehan 0-1, Jonathan Torode, John Magee 0-2, Diarmuid O’Hagan 0-1, Alex Mackey, Padraig Judge 0-2, Ruairi Loughran 1-4, James McDade 0-4. McCabe, Alex Bradshaw, David Heaney, Declan Magee, Reece Magennis, Oran McAtavey, Jamie McCann, Ruairi McCarron, Ciaran McConville, Conor McGeown, Gareth McKerr, Luke Mulholland, Matthew Mulholland, Peter O’Neill, Niall Sheehan, Paddy Thompson, Daniel Toland.

Subs: Declan Heaney 0-1 for D O’Hagan (40), Niall O’Neill for P Judge (57)

St Eunan’s : Conor Tinney, Conal O’Boyle, Ryan Hunter, Brian Hannigan, Daire McMonagle, Conor O’Donnell 0-1, John Fullerton, Oisin Carr 0-1, Ryan Diver, Odhran McMackin 0-2 frees, John Givens 0-1, Oisin Crawford, Daire McDaid 0-5, 0-1 free, Aidan Sweeney 0-1, Conor McEniff 1-0.

Subs: Jordan McBride for B Hannigan (20), Daniel Gillespie 0-1 for J Givens (45), David Tyrell for O Crawford (48), Barry McGeehan for J Fullerton (51).