St.Columb’s from Derry produced a brilliant comeback from six points down after 23 minutes to defeat a gallant Abbey Vocational School from Donegal Town in this excellent Markey Cup Ulster Schools final.
St. Columbs , Derry 2-11 Abbey Vocational School 3-5
By Charlie Collins at O’Donnell Park
]The teams exchanged three points from frees in the opening eight minutes.
Fergal Mortimer putting the Derry lads ahead but Cian Hegarty replying with two for Abbey.
Then we had an exchange of goals, Tiernan O’Kane bursting through to score for St.Columb’s despite several defenders attempting to block his path and his shot also getting a half block but still having enough on it to get over the line.
Abbey’s response was excellent and especially the play of Richard O Rourke who intercepted a pass , immediately released Shaun Kennedy and he produce a super finish to the roof of the net to make it 1-2 to 1-1 in the 14th minute.
Abbey’s Jamie Crawford then excelled at both ends, kicking points from play and a free and then somehow clearing the ball off his own goal line when a goal seemed certain in the 22nd minute.
A minute later we had another goal for Abbey, Daniel Gallagher made the run, found Shaun Kennedy inside but with the angle a bit tight he fisted across for Cian Hegarty to palm the ball to the net, 2-4 to 1-1 for Abbey Vocational in the 23rd minute.
That was to be Abbey’s last score of the half as St. Columb’s fought back to score four points in a row, Fergal Mortimer kicked three frees and Eoghan Cassidy hit a cracker from play , while Abbey keeper Enda O’Hagan made a fine blocked save to deny Cahir McMonagle a goal to leave just two points in it at half-time 2-4 to 1-5 to Abbey Vocational and all to play for.
The Derry lads made it seven points in a row with the opening three of the second-half , Jude Og Moore , Shea Brown and Tiernan O Kane all from play to take the lead at 1-08 to 2-04.
Abbey responded well and finally bridged a 22 minutes scoreless spell when keeper Matthew Stephenson failed to hold the ball and an almighty scramble ended with Jamie Crawford toe poking the ball over the line to make it 3-4 to 1-8 in Abbey’s favour.
Back came St.Columbs again, Mortimer pointed a free and then sub Ciaran Concannon pounced as the ball rebounded back off the crossbar to drive it to the net to leave it 2-09 to 3-04 to the Derry lads.
Cian Hegarty narrowed it to a point with a free in the 55th minute and a minute later he intercepted a poor kick-out but instead of taking a point he passed inside to Shaun Kennedy who’s shot was blocked.
Daniel Gallagher collected and looked to have been fouled but the Referee waved play on and the chance was gone. Shea Brown and James Lynch added late points to round off a super comeback victory for St.Columb’s from six points down after 23 minutes
Abbey VS: Enda O’Hagan, Shane Meehan, Brian Fegan, Aidan McHugh, Ryan Brogan , Michael Coughlan, Richard O’Rourke, Jamie Crawford (1-2), Oisín Reid, Cathal Feeney , Michael Statham, Daniel Gallagher, Shea Travers , Cian Hegarty (1-3, 3f), Shaun Kennedy (1-0). Subs: Ian Campbell for Travers (47), Alex Mc Calmont for Feeney (50), Thomas White for Kennedy (58).
St Columb’s: Matthew Stephenson , Michael Lynch , Naoise 0 Mianain, Padraig Nelis , Conor McLaughlin , Shane McElhinney, Tiernan O Kane (1-1), Cormac Mooney , James Lynch (0-1) , Ryan Brown, Fergal Mortimer (0-5f) , Eoghan Cassidy (0-1), Cahir McMonagle, Jude Og Moore (0-1), Shea Brown (0-2), Subs: Ciaran Concannon (1-0) for Og Moore (50) Donnacha Gilmore for Shea Brown 60).
Referee: Mark Loughran (Tyrone)