Danske Bank Arthurs Cup final
Loreto Milford 0-11 St Joseph’s Donaghmore 0-8
GOALKEEPER John Matthews was the hero for Loreto Milford in Owenbeg yesterday bringing off a stunning injury-time save from Conor Cush to prevent this thrilling Danske Bank Arthurs Cup final going to extra-time.
Hugh J Cunningham had narrowed it down to a three points’ game just minutes earlier with a Donaghmore free, but the Tyrone boys couldn’t pull the goal out of the bag at the death to deny Milford the victory their second half performance deserved.
When Shane Black and Kyle McFadden pointed late in the opening half, it was the first time that Milford had gone ahead despite playing with the assistance of the breeze and they turned over at 0-6 to 0-5.
The expectation was that Donaghmore would push on in the second half and initially that seemed to be working out when Daniel Muldoon and Ben Donnelly edged Donaghmore ahead, and really Donnelly should have hit the net at that point.
Then gradually Milford’s superbly organised defence dug in around full-back Tiarnan McBride, holding possession when they needed to, moving it quickly when the break was on. And the attack responded.
Matthew McLaughlin added two points to the two he scored before the break and the excellent Ethan Cullen, Eoin O’Donnell and Liam McAlary came through with further points to stretch the lead to four for Milford who lost the Danske Bank McDevitt Cup final last week to St Joseph’s Coalisland by a single point.
If Donaghmore had forced extra time with that late effort from Cush, it would have been rough justice on the school from the bottom of the Fanad peninsula as they had dominated the second half after a poor start.
Indeed they trailed by 0-4 to 0-2 at the end of the first quarter with Ben Donnelly, Conor Cush, Daniel Muldoon and Hugh J Cunningham on the mark for Donaghmore.
However the initiative and drive that the Tyrone side had first half seemed to shift to Milford for the second half and the Donegal school was deserving of their three points’ winning margin.
Loreto : J Matthews, P McDaid, T McBride, Eamonn O’Donnell, Eoin O’Donnell (0-1), M O’Connell, D McBride, L McGrenaghan, E Cullen capt (0-1), L Donnelly, K McFadden (0-3, 0-1 free), L McAlary (0-1), S Black (0-1), M McLaughlin (0-4, 0-2 frees), E Keown.
Sub : O McElhinney for E Keown (41).
St Joseph’s : C Molloy, J McElroy, A Keenan, C Hagan, C McGurk, L Grimes, J Muldoon, J Rafferty, J Fearon (0-1), C Cush (0-1), C Lagan, HJ Cunningham (0-2, 0-1 free), D Muldoon (0-2), S Morgan, B Donnelly (0-2).
Subs : J Moore for J Rafferty (48), B Charlton for HJ Cunningham (54), M McCallim for L Grimes (54)
Referee : Anthony Campbell (Derry)