ST COLUMBA’S COMPREHENSIVE from Glenties made hay in the first half and it was just as well for Martin Regan’s outfit as they held on for dear life in spite of a Magh Ene fight back to win the Donegal Vocational Schools Senior ‘A’ final.
St Columba’s Comprehensive School, Glenties 2-6 Magh Ene, Bundoran 0-11
Goals at either end of the first period by Simon Breslin and Jack Flannery meant that they had enough to spare, even when Magh Ene asked the serious questions in the second half and threatened to topple their opponents.
St Columba’s didn’t score in the second half as Magh Ene eroded at the deficit.
Magh Ene hit eight points without reply after the changeover and the drama went well over the 60 minutes with almost ten additional minutes played at the conclusion by the referee, Shane Toolan.
“He could have played more – I don’t think he played enough with all the stoppages in added time,” said Fergal O’Flaherty, the Magh Ene manager, who could have had legitimate complaints about a penalty that wasn’t.
15 minutes from the end, sub Niall Carr jinked inside his man and was brought to ground, but Toolan waved away the penalty claims.
Earlier, he had awarded one down the other end, but Magh Ene goalkeeper, Conor Carty, saved well from Stefan Boyle’s kick after John Ross Molloy was taken down by Cillian McGloin.
That was the catalyst for a comeback. Inspired by Carty’s save, Magh Ene roared back.
Cian McEniff and Dara Elliot had already landed two points while a brave Logan Quinn blocked thwarted Diarmuid Gallagher. Magh Ene chipped away at the margin with Luke Towey, Declan Clancy, a magnificent effort by McGloin and McEniff again taking them to within a goal.
As the stopwatch ticked well past the hour, the belief heightened that it was to be Magh Ene’s day as McEniff landed a free and Brian MacHenry curled over delightfully to make it a one-point game.
Breslin looked to have stemmed the flow when he plucked a raking ball out of the sky, but he blasted wide. The clock ticked and ticked some more, but Magh Ene just ran out of time, and luck, just at that moment when they pendulum seemed to have turned their way.
It was relief for St Columba’s, who had threatened to move out of sight much earlier in the tie.
Paddy Byrne of Donegal Schools’ GAA presents St Columba’s Comprehensive School Glenties with the Donegal Vocational Schools’ Senior ‘A’ championship trophy at Munday’s Field in Ballyshannon this afternoon
Just two and a half minutes in, the Glenties scholars broke for the game’s opening goal. Boyle made the ground down the right channel and bore a way across the end-line.
Despite the gallant attempts of McGloin on the line, he was powerless to prevent Breslin from bagging the goal.
The bustling Breslin started at midfield but quickly moved inside and became the focal point of the St Columba’s attack.
By the time Toolan called time on the first half, St Columba’s were nine ahead, 2-6 to 0-3.
While the second goal arrived in stoppage time at the end of the half, it was in the period between the goals where Regan’s team built the head of steam.
Jack Brennan opened up a four-point lead after Adam Brennan blocked down a goal chance for Jack Flannery.
Gallagher got Magh Ene off and running, but they quickly found the deficit a stiff one.
Kieran Gallagher funnelled forward and set up Brennan for a point and, with Adam McHugh drilling over two superb scores, with Boyle and Brennan on the mark, it was St Columba’s who took a real grip on proceedings.
Two points from Elliot – one of which he was fortunate to be given, as it looked to have tailed wide – broke the duck for Magh Ene, but Boyle set up Johnny Sweeney for a brilliant curling effort from distance that kept the feet on the gas for St Columba’s.
In stoppage time, they looked to have sewn it up. McHugh weaved his way into Magh Ene territory and off-loaded for Flannery whose finish was precise and true, slamming ugh into the roof of Patrick Gallagher’s goal.
St Columba’s Comprehensive School, Glenties: Patrick Gallagher; Logan Quinn, Brian Whyte, Cian Doherty; Joe Melly, John Ross Molloy; Kieran Gallagher, Simon Breslin (1-0) ; Paul McGuinness, Jack Brennan (0-2), Johnny Sweeney (0-1); Jack Flannery (1-0), Stefan Boyle (0-1, 1f), Adam McHugh (0-2). Subs: Danny Walsh for Melly (35), Oisin Brennan for Sweeney (53), Joe Melly for Flannery (60 + 4 mins), Shane McDevitt for McHugh (60 + 8 mins), Eoghan Harkin for Boyle (60 + 8 mins).
Magh Ene, Bundoran: Conor Carty; Colm Clancy, Paul Murphy, Adam Brennan; Leo Ryan, Shane Carr, Brian MacHenry (0-1); Diarmuid Gallagher (0-1), Cillian McGloin (0-1); Taylor Simpson, Declan Clancy (0-1), Dara Elliot (0-3); Luke Towey (0-1), Conor Colreavy, Cian McEniff (0-3, 2f). Subs: Niall Carr for Simpson (30), Tommy Govorov for Carr (53).
Referee: Shane Toolan (Aodh Ruadh).Tags: