ST COLUMBA’S COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL GLENTIES came back from 10 points down to seal a place in the semi-finals of the Markey Cup this afternoon.
St Columba’s Comprehensive School Glenties 6-4 Breifne College, Cavan 3-10
In a dramatic encounter at Bawnacre in Irvinestown, Martin Regan’s side were struggling to keep in touch with Breifne College from Cavan, who were 2-8 to 1-1 in front with just five minutes remaining in the first half.
Although the wind certainly played a factor, it was until then an abject enough showing from the Donegal Senior Schools’ champions. However, they steadied themselves to go in at half-time just six down before three goals from Jack Flannery in the second half turned the tide.
In a dramatic finish, Breifne College’s Sean Keating had a chance to level the match with effectively the last kick of the game. He needed a goal, something he had managed from an identical position just three minutes beforehand when he fired into the top corner.[adrotate group=”24″]
Second time around though, Keating went low and with his drive and the St Columba’s defensive wall got the block on it and they could start to think about the semi-final, where they will play Fermanagh Schools – the side that overcame St Columba’s Stranorlar from being eight points down on Monday.
There might well be further interest in the last four from a Donegal perspective, with Magh Ene College Bundoran due to face Bailieboro Community School and Abbey Vocational School from Donegal town taking on Monaghan’s Ballybay Community College on Friday in the remaining quarter-finals.
Breifne College, this afternoon in Fermanagh, scored the first six points of the contest, with Keating grabbing four of a personal total that would rise to 1-7 in the end. St Columba’s were running into a blue wall when they did try and attack and the Cavan side were sprightly when they went forward.
St Columba’s needed something and needed it fast and on 13 minutes, Simon Breslin slapped home a goal from close range following a ball in from Danny Walsh.
That made it 0-6 to 1-0 but despite the relief of the goal, it didn’t significantly alter the tide. Cormac Boyle finished off a goal for Breifne on 18 minutes when he finished soccer-style as the ball broke his way and then the wing-forward, seven minutes later, score his second goal as John Ross Molloy failed to gather a ball in from Ryan Coyle.
Breifne were 2-8 to 1-1 up and perhaps even more worryingly for those from the north-west, good value for that lead.
However, right at the end of the half Adam McHugh stroked home a penalty (see above) for St Columba’s when full-back Alpha Ike was penalised by referee Gerard McLaughlin for holding Breslin. It was 2-8 to 2-2 at half-time.
St Columba’s have shown an ability to bag goals all season and even without the injured Eoghan McGettigan and Stefan Boyle could rely on that trait.
Two minutes into the second half, McHugh, who might’ve been aiming for a point saw his shot fly into the Breifne goal past Dominic Gillick and then, six minutes later, the Na Rossa clubman turned provider for Flannery to score another St Columba’s goal.
The scores were now level, 4-2 for St Columba’s to Breifne College’s 2-8. With 22 minutes left, it seemed as though the Glenties based school just needed to continue that forward momentum to see off the challenge.
The weather conditions – sunny one moment and then heavy rain the next – were certainly changeable, perhaps fitting with the meandering nature of what was taking place on the astroturf.
Breifne College broke free to score twice, the second of which was an excellent score from Eoghan Cooney – either side of a point for Kieran McCabe of St Columba’s. It meant the Cavan team were up by one, 2-10 to 4-3, with 15 minutes to go.
Enter, or re-enter Flannery. The Naomh Conaill forward blasted home his second and St Columba’s fifth goal on 48 minutes and when Kieran Gallagher added a point, it made for a 5-4 to 2-10 lead.
At a critical juncture, Patrick Gallagher in the St Columba’s goal saved with his feet when Breifne’s lively Boyle shot for his third goal.
That’s how it looked as though it would finish out but in a frenetic finish, a brilliant short-range free from Keating flew like an arrow into the St Columba’s net to level it up, 5-4 to 2-10, for Breifne with 90 seconds left.
It was really anyone’s game then, the sides locked together just as they had been at the start. St Columba’s launched a late assault and when Nathan Byrne centered, who else but Flannery was inside to slap home his hat-trick goal. More importantly, his team held a narrow three-point lead going into injury time.
Breifne College forced a late free and with little option, Keating had to go for goal. First time, when he was successful from pretty much the same square-yard, he went high.
This time, he opted to go low and the effort was hacked out to conclude a quarter-final that really could’ve went any way.
St Columba’s Comprehensive School Glenties: Patrick Gallagher; Joe Melly, Brian Whyte, Cian Doherty; Danny Walsh, John Ross Molloy, Sennan Boyle; Kieran Gallagher (0-1), Adam McHugh (2-0, 1-0 pen), Paul McGuinness, Jack Brennan (0-1), Johnny Sweeney (0-1, 1f); Jack Flannery (3-0), Simon Breslin (1-0), Logan Quinn. Subs: Nathan Byrne for Doherty (46), Oisin Brennan for McGuinness (56)
Breifne College: Dominic Gillick; Sean smith, Alpha Ike, Brian Foley; Adam Heaslip (0-1), Ryan Coyle, Peter Galligan; Danny Cussack, Aaron Cosgrove; Cormac Boyle (2-0), Conor Sheridan, Finbar Moore; Callum Lynch, Sean Keating (1-7, 1-0 pen, 3f, 45), Eoghan Cooney (0-2). Sub: Ryan Conway for Lynch (53).
Referee: Gerard McLaughlin (Fermanagh).