In their last official Ulster Colleges’ game as St. Michael’s, the Lurgan school captured the Danske Bank Treanor Cup in a very tight game at Keady last Thursday to clinch a third title at this age group.
In September an amalgamation will take place and St. Michael’s will become part of the new St. Ronan’s project bringing with them the Treanor Cup they won with strong performances from Aidan Mulholland, Jack Haddock and Jack Lenehan and two points in each half from lively half-forward Eoin McConville.
This panel will now go forward and compete in the Rannafast Cup next year meaning that in its first year St Ronan’s will compete in both ‘A’ competitions including the MacRory cup.
Overall it was an evenly balanced tie with the teams sharing the first ten points.
Bessbrook opened the scoring before a nice point on the run from centre-half forward Rioghan Meehan levelled the game. It was to continue like this in the first half with further scores from Eoin McConville, another Meehan score and two frees from Shea Geraghty cancelled out by the impressive South Armagh school.
St. Michael’s hit a purple patch from the 20th to the 25th minute and opened a slight gap with points from Eoin McConville, Lee Haughian and Ruairi McConville.
However Niall McGuinness then bagged a goal for St. Paul’s and his cousin Ronan two points for Bessbrook to take an interval lead of 1-7 to 0-8. This lapse in concentration was to make the task all the more difficult in the second half.
The second half began with Beebrook on the attack but great defending and a series of blocks kept the scoreline the same. Aidan Mulholland was having a very strong game in the full back line and was well supported by Jack Haddock and Adam Loughran
Although general play continued to be evenly contested, St. Michael’s then hit four points in the third quarter, two each for McConville and free-taker Shea Geraghty, to take a two points lead.
Jack Lenehan was having a great game at midfield and was constantly driving the team on, Tiernan Kelly was doing a lot of unselfish work covering and blocking where required.
However, Bessbrook were not done. Seamus Loughran responded with a point for St. Paul’s, who might have had a 54th minute goal. Goalie Oisin Campbell was beaten but Eugene Doran stopped the ball from crossing the line and from the resulting break upfield Ruairi McConville hit a wonderful point from the wing to put two points between the sides, a score that was to prove the winner.
A point from the South Armagh school near the end ensured a nervy finish but the Lurgan lads held on for a historic victory.
St. Michael’s: O Campbell, E Doran, A Mulholland, S Murphy, C Magee, J Haddock, A Loughran, P Fitzsimmons, J Lenehan, T Kelly, R Meehan 0-2, E McConville 0-4, L Haughian 0-1, R McConville 0-2, 0-1 free, S Geraghty 0-4 frees
Subs : J Lamont for C Magee, T Harbinson for L Haughian, M McAfee for R Meehan, Aaron McCreanor, Jamie Haughey, Rory Shine, Oran Brady, Jack Conlon, Patrick McGibbon, Niall Loney, John McMorrow, Oisin Farquhar.
St Paul’s : L Reynolds, C Murphy, C McGuinness, S McGennity, C Cosgrove, M O’Hare, R Hughes, S Treanor, Z Bumickas, J McVerry, S Loughran 0-3, 0-1 free, R McGuinness 0-3, N McGuinness 1-2, L Mackin 0-1, O Mullan.
Referee : Niall McKenna (Monaghan)