Dr Eamonn O’Sullivan Cup All-Ireland Schools Senior C Semi-Final
St Colmcille’s CS (Dublin) 4-9 Virginia College (Cavan) 3-10
From Damien Donohoe in Abbottstown.
With eight minutes remaining Virginia College playing with the wind at their backs looked a sure thing to make the Dr Eamonn O’Sullivan Cup Final as they held a six points lead. St Colmcille’s Community Schoolhowever turned this entertaining tie on its head scoring a goal and three in a four minute spell.
Even when Sean McEvoy sent over a superb 50m free to edge Virginia a point ahead two minutes into injury time, a victory for the Dublin side looked unlikely. But in a twist worthy of a Hollywood movie St Colmcille’s bravely took the spoils through Connell McGlynn’s 63rd minute goal.
Played on the Croke Park replica pitch in Abbottstown, conditions while windy were dry and the surface was perfect for football.
Conor Nulty and a Rob Cullen ’45 left the sides level after four minutes. A drilled point against the wind by Ryan Galligan started a 90 seconds perfect storm for the Cavan side. Galligan then turned provider with a super kick pass over the St Colmcille’s defence to find Aaron McCabe who rounded the keeper and tapped home for the game’s first goal.
The packed stand didn’t have long to wait for the game’s second goal as Virginia won the resulting kick-out and Sean McEvoy’s pace and direct style created a goal chance which he coolly finished to the net.
The much bigger side St Colmcille’s side now trailed by seven with as many minutes played. Centre forward Cian Durkin broke through only to be denied by Glen Prendergast at close range, seconds later Durkin settled for a point from the 20 leaving the score 2-2 to 0-2 with ten minutes played.
While Virginia were the smaller team they had a lot more speed around the field shown when Conor Nulty created an overlap before laying off to McEvoy who sent over. With seven minute to go to the break the first of Colmcille’s comebacks began.
Mick McDonald converted a 20m free before referee John Glavey awarded the Leinster champions a penalty. Rob Cullen facing the penalty saving specialist Prendergast sent the ball powerfully to the net to close the gap to three points.
In the final minute of ordinary time before the break, a mix up in the Virginia defence saw Connell McGlynn ghost in on Virginia’s goal and slot the ball low to the corner of the net. The sides were now level but there was time for one more attack which saw Alex Sweeney battle to win possession back for Virginia and set up Aaron McCabe for a point.
The Cavan side were much the happier going in at the break ,in the lead by a single point having played against the wind.
After the break both sides took time to settle but St Colmcille’s had the lion’s share of the ball but found shooting into the wind difficult. It took seven minutes for Fiachra Madden to register the first score of the half levelling the game for the third time.
Virginia regained the lead with Niall Carolan and Aaron McCabe combining to set free Conor Nulty for the point. Sub Turlough Farrelly caught a free that dropped short and laid off to Aaron McCabe to double the Virginia lead.
Two more points from Nulty and a super long range effort from Sweeney saw Virginia hold a 2-9 to 2-4 lead as the final quarter began. Rob Cullen sent over two points for the Dublin side sandwiching Neil McCabe’s point for Virginia.
With eight minutes to go a long kick-out from Prendergast was won by Sweeney to start a fast break which found Nulty goal side of the defence. With three players casing Nulty showed the speed and composure needed to win the race and he found the net leaving Virginia six to the good.
Sub Lorcan O’Dell and Luke Mulligan Lynch sent over in the 55th and 57th minutes but with time running out St Colmcille’s pushed hard for a green flag. After being turned back a number of times by a solid Virginia defence, Fiachra Madden found a crack and blasted through it to leave the score 3-9 to 3-8.
Energised by the goal the Ballyboden based school won the following kick-out and a free which Rob Cullen sent over leaving the sides level and extra time loomed for a third game in a row for Virginia. With no board to signal how much injury time would be played tension was peaked.
Two minutes into injury time Virginia were awarded a free 50m from goal. McEvoy immediately called for the ball and after toying with the option of taking it off the ground he opted to strike it from his hands and sailed it over perfectly with the outside of his right. A point worthy of winning any match, but not every match.
St Colmcille’s wasted no time with the restart and Cian Durkin gathered the ball on the Virginia 45. Driving to the 20m line he was fouled and most would have backed or taken a draw but with the referee offering an advantage Durkin kept driving. As he crossed the 13m line he found Connell McGlynn free at the back post and McGlynn tucked the ball into the far bottom corner of the net.
Queue wild celebrations and simultaneous heart break as the final whistle sounded soon after as St Colmcille’s enjoyed a smash and grab to remember.
Virginia: Conor Nutly (1-3), Sean McEvoy (1-2,1f), Aaron McCabe (1-2), Ryan Galligan (0-1), Neil McCabe (0-1), Alex Sweeney (0-1).
St Colmcille’s CS: Rob Cullen (1p-4,1f,1’45), Connell McGlynn (2-0), Fiachra Madden (1-1), Luke Mulligan Lynch (0-1), Mick McDonald (0-1f), Cian Durkin (0-1), Lorcan O’Dell (0-1).
Virginia College (Cavan): Glen Prendergast, Luke Doyle, Cian Donoghue, Ryan Kellet, Stephen Kavanagh, Niall Carolan, Tomas Lynch, Alex Sweeney, Conor Fitzpatrick, Aaron Mannion, Ryan Galligan, Neil McCabe, Conor Nutly, Sean McEvoy, Aaron McCabe.
Subs Sean óg McGearty for R Kellet (32), Turlough Farrelly for R Galligan (38), Cillian McCabe for C Fitzpatrick (43), Ronan Cullen for N McCabe (51), Tadgh Hagen for Cian Donoghue (54).
St Colmcille’s CS: Enda Minogue, Ronan McGowan, Reed Barry, Ronan Long, Luke Mulligan Lynch, Cian Leahy, Sean Kane, Mick McDonald, Patrick Dunleavy, Conor Cullen, Rob Cullen Connell McGlynn, Daragh Malone, Cian Durkin, Martin Mulligan Lynch.
Subs Fiachra Madden for D Malone (HT), Lorcan O’Dell for M Mulligan Lynch (38), Reece Mulhall for R Cullen (55).
Referee: John Glavey