THEY’VE MANAGED TO pick up plenty of silverware in recent years at Coláiste na Carraige, but the Arthurs Cup was something that had always eluded them. Until now.
Coláiste na Carraige 2-11 Breifne College Cavan 1-8
In the last final at this age level of Under-16 before the regrading next year, Coláiste na Carraige followed in the footsteps of the only Donegal winners of the competition, PCC Falcarragh in 2014, and today’s victory put to bed some of their losses in record years.
Twelve months ago, there was extra-time heartbreak against St Mary’s from Clady, Co Derry, in a 2-15 to 3-8 extra-time loss at Celtic Park, while the 2013 vintage lost to St Mark’s, Warrenpoint, and the 2010 team went down to Holy Trinity from Cookstown.
Today, though, was all about the present – a memorable success for the Kilcar-Naomh Columba amalgamation against the Cavan side who had a panel of players from 11 different clubs.
Paddy Boyle’s side had hammered Ballybay Community College 2-22 to 0-2 in the semi-final in Irvinestown last month and although winning a last four tie by such a margin generally brings with it something of a health warning, Coláiste na Carraige began the Healy Park final on the front foot.
After just 12 minutes, the Donegal champions were 1-4 to 0-0 in front, with Aaron Doherty popping over two frees and his stablemates Lanty Molloy and Brian O’Donnell adding points.
A goal arrived as a consequence of a driving run from Lanty Molloy and when he squared the ball to Doherty, it broke as Brian Foley, the Breife full-back, challenged. David Love got the touch and it trickled over the line with some even suggesting it might’ve been an own goal off Daniel Cusack.
At that stage, Breife College hadn’t registered so much as even a shot, which did arrive on 15 minutes through a wayward effort from Sean Martin. However, the side managed by Seanie Johnston and John Gilsenan kicked three points in five minutes – with Dylan Murray and two from Cormac Wall – having improved significantly.
Coláiste na Carraige were a little wayward themselves during that period and were fortunate not to concede a goal when an electrifying run from Callum Lynch, the diminutive full-forward for Breifne College, saw himburst free and his shot – through goalkeeper Colm Garvey’s legs – struck the butt of the post.
Having gone 15 minutes without a score, two late points gave Coláiste na Carraige a 1-6 to 0-3 half-time lead.
Firstly, Doherty’s angle from the right was slapped over his own crossbar by Max Morgan in the Breife goal. Then, O’Donnell scored the point of the half from the shadow of the stand where the vocal students from Coláiste na Carraige had gathered.
Breifne had tried occasionally to pen in Coláiste na Carraige but the swiftness of movement from back to front of those in blue and red meant they’d shown the capabilities to get into space.
Breifne College came out from the traps impressively at the start of the second half. Inside seconds of the restart, a fading shot at a point from Martin struck the angle of post and crossbar. Garvey in the Coláiste na Carraige goal was unaware but recovered as the ball ran across the goal to make a brave save from Finbarr Moore.
Breifne were certainly pushing the boundaries in the physical stakes.
Points were traded – two apiece – at either end with Molloy and Doherty on the mark for Coláiste na Carraige and Sean Martin and Dylan McMullan scoring for Breifne.
McMullan’s chance was a great one; one he created himself having burst clear and he might’ve gone for goal but opted to place a ball over the crossbar.
With 10 minutes left, Coláiste na Carraige were 1-8 to 0-5 up and again, the tit-for-that nature of the scoring suited the team in front.
Three more points apiece for each team – Doherty with and Tadhg McGinley for Coláiste na Carraige with Martin, Dylan Molloy and Ryan Coyle registering for Breifne.
Coláiste na Carraige were 1-11 to 0-8 up when their inspiration joint-captain O’Donnell was grounded by Luke Molloy, who picked up a second yellow card two minutes from time.
That merely acted as a prelude to the coup de grace when Love smashed home his second goal, when, in the 58th minute, he finished off a move that involved Oran Doogan and Gary Molloy.
Breifne’s Lynch was taken down inside the square on the 62nd minute and Wall rammed the penalty past Garvey.
The final whistle went soon afterwards. But having waited their whole life, those few seconds didn’t matter at all.
Coláiste na Carraige: Colm Garvey; Jordan Burns, Fionn Gallagher, Gavin Moore; Kenny Doogan, Aaron Doherty (0-6, 4f), Cormac Ó Leime; Brian O’Donnell (0-2), Oran Doogan; Gary Molloy, Lanty Molloy (0-2), Michael Lyons; Tadgh McGinley (0-1), David Love (2-0), Ryan O’Donnell. Subs: Oisin Byrne for M Lyons (44), Dylan Kelly for Love (58).
Breifne College, Cavan: Max Morgan; Max O’Dea, Brian Foley, Jamie Cooney; Jake McGovern, Ryan Coyle (0-1, 1f), Dylan Molloy (0-2); Daniel Cusask, Luke Molloy; Tristian Lynch, Cormac Wall (1-2, 1-0 pen), Christopher Smith; Dylan McMullan (0-1), Callum Lynch, Sean Martin (0-2, 1f). Subs: Tristan Lynch for Smith (38), Mark Brady for Moore (47)
Referee: Stephen McNamee (Tyrone).