Danske Bank Mageean Cup quarter-final
St Patrick’s Maghera 3-13 St Mary’s CBGS Belfast 2-14
HOLDERS ST PATRICK’S Maghera came from four points down at the break in Ballymena yesterday to maintain an interest in this season’s Danske Bank Mageean Cup after a game that was remarkable for the stats Maghera produced.
Only two Maghera players scored – their two survivors from last year’s final, Fintan Bradley and Tiarnán McHugh – and all 13 points came from placed balls.
But it was not a flawless performance on frees from Bradley as, with his team two points ahead and nine minutes left on the clock, he blasted a penalty wide and then scuffed an easy 30 metres free a minute later.
The Swatragh forward however atoned for those transgressions before St Mary’s could add to their total when he followed through on a shot from McHugh that was blocked on the goal-line and Bradley forced the sliotar home from close range.
This was an exciting cup-tie but St Mary’s will rue the indiscipline that handed frees to Bradley and ultimately cost them a semi-final spot. Caolan McKernan and Cormac McGettigan hurled well in defence and Daire Murphy and free-taker Aaron Bradley performed well up front but this was very much “one that got away”.
Aaron Bradley took a pass from Murphy to blast the opening goal and St Mary’s were 1-4 to 0-2 up before Maghera put any real pressure on their defence.
McHugh blasted a 14th minute goal and they got back to 1-4 to 1-3 before St Mary’s pulled away again. Helped by a 26th minute goal from Murphy, when Caolan Slack found him with a neat reverse pass, St Mary’s turned over ahead by 2-8 to 1-7.
With the breeze at his back, Fintan Bradley kept the score-board moving with some fine long frees, and McHugh fired in a second goal to put his team 2-13 to 2-11 ahead entering the last 10 minutes.
Fintan Bradley was then centre-stage for a few minutes eventually pushing his side into a five points’ lead before two late points from Aaron Bradley frees and another from Eoghan McMenamin made for an exciting finish.
But Maghera had done enough to get over the line and they will now play St Louis Ballymena in the semi-final, while An Dún’s win on Monday sets up a semi-final pairing with Cross and Passion Ballycastle.
St Patrick’s : Daniel Glass, Barry Walsh, Eoin McCusker, JP McGuigan, Ryan McPeake, Daniel McCartney, Oran Downey, Seamus McKenna, John Mellon, Fintan Bradley (1-13, 0-13 frees), Darragh Simpson, Michael McCormick, Sean Thomas McErlean, Tiernan McHugh (2-0), Cahan O’Neill.
St Mary’s : Connor Flannery, Eoin May, Gary McIllhatton, Liam McCluskey, Cormac McGettigan, Caolan McKernan, Daniel Churchill (0-1), Dannan McKeogh, Sean Maguire, Caolan Ó Duifín, Eoghan McMenamin (0-3), Caolan Crossan, Daire Murphy (1-2), Caolan Slack, Aaron Bradley (1-8, 0-8 frees)
Subs : Ronan Crossan for S Maguire, Ruairi Murray for E May, Eoin Trainor for C Ó Duifín
Pictures from John Curly McIlwaine