An inspired second half performance earned PCC Falcarragh the John Murphy Ulster Schools B title today in a tense battle with local rivals Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair.
Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair 1-3 PCC Falcarragh
In blistery conditions it was Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair that started the brightest. PCC goalkeeper Shane Corless was kept busy early on having to deal with a few difficult deep crosses into the box.
The Gaoth Dobhair men were keeping possession smartly, spraying the ball along the deck with speed and precision, but it was PCC that came closest first. On a quick counter-attack, Micheal McHugh found himself in space on the edge of the box and bent a beautiful strike past the keeper but against the crossbar.
This acted as a wakeup call for Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair. Liam McFadden and Fionain Coyle linked up nicely to set up Jamie Doherty but his effort was smartly saved by Shane Corless.
Stephen McFadden found space on the edge of the box soon after, but his left-footed effort flashed wide of the far post. Micheal McHugh offered PCC a fine option up front all day. The young Glenea man beat the defence to a long ball over the top but had his effort pushed away by Daith Roberts.
Unfortunately for the keeper the ball fell to the feet of Ultan Boyle and the Keadue Rovers man made no mistake with the finish to give PCC the lead.
Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair’s response to going a goal down was impressive. An equaliser looked likely when both Stephen McFadden and Fionain Coyle found space in the box, but the pair contested the one cross and PCC managed to get the ball clear.
The equaliser did come just before half-time. Conor Duggan struck the ball into the bottom corner from inside the box after Carlos O’Reilly had cleared off the line for PCC.
PCC settled into the game better in the second half with Michael Mulhern and Edward O’Reilly getting more involved in the middle. They were rewarded for their improvement with Micheal McHugh rifling the ball in to the roof of the net from eight yards out after Ultan Boyle’s goal-ward header was blocked.
Ethan Harkin thought he levelled the game up for Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair ten minutes later after he flicked the ball past Shane Corless from a wide cross. Unfortunately for his side the centre half was judged to be offside.
Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair substitute Padraig Ferry also came close after fine work from Fionain Coyle down the right but his effort went just past the far post. With the Gaoth Dobhair men chasing for an equaliser they were leaving gaps at the back.
Micheal McHugh looked like he was going through for a third PCC goal, but the striker was ruled offside after the Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair defence pushed up quickly.
Padraig Ferry had another effort after Shane Corless spilled a long strike, but the goalkeeper matched his close range shot pushing the ball wide at the second attempt.
PCC did get their third of the day in the dying minutes, Conan Brennan finished from a tight angle after being released by the impressive Ultan Boyle. The goal was what PCC deserved from their improved second half performance.
Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair tried to force a reply in the remaining few minutes of the game, but PCC defended resolutely and put their name on the John Murphy Ulster B trophy.
Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair: Daithi Roberts, Fiachra Coyle, Daniel McLaughlin, Ethan Harkin, Donal McBride, Conor Duggan, Liam Wiggins (Padraig Ferry, 61), Liam McFadden, Fionain Coyle, Stephen McFadden (Cathal Gillespie, 43), Jamie Doherty.
PCC Falcarragh: Shane Corless, Anthony Browne (Neil Kelly, 45), Patrick McGinley, Kyle McMullan, Fionn McGinley (Roan Dewar, 76), Carlos O’Reilly, Edward O’Reilly, Michael Mulhern (Conan Brennan, 61), Ultan Boyle, PJ Doogan, Micheal McHugh.