Warrenpoint make their Mark in Ulster
Tuesday, 12 March 2013
St Mark's High School, Warrenpoint 3-18 Coláiste na Carraige, Donegal 0-9.
ST MARK'S captain Pearse Kelly lifted the Arthur's Cup high into the sunny sky to a background of rapturous applause at Brewster Park Enniskillen last Tuesday, as captain of the newly-crowned Ulster Bank U16 Ulster Vocational Schools Champions.
The victory was emphatic in the end with the St Mark's boys scoring two goals and nine points unanswered in the last 20 minutes of the game - in a virtual repeat of what they did to Ballygawley the previous week.
This was not the walkover it appears however, St Mark's were only four points ahead at half-time and while the Donegal lads never got ahead in the game, after the opening point, the first half was a fairly even contest.
There seemed to be a pervasive feeling in the air though that it was only a matter of time before Warrenpoint turned the screw - and turn it they did, and once they got in the zone and opened the opposition up, there was no turning back for this fantastic team.
The cynics out there, who lament the way football is being played these days, would be well advised to go watch a few schools matches, the free-flowing competitive yet fair play at this final, the quality of the passing, and the general standard of football at this level, was terrific.
Special mention must be made of the Mayobridge duo, CJ Barr who was a joy to behold under the high ball, and Conor Fitzpatrick at centre-back who was also superb in defence and pushing forward.
Donegal opened the scoring with a point from Donal O Laihgin who cut in from the left half-back line. But the match was only three minutes old when Tiarnan Rushe found the back of the net and for the rest of the half it was tit-for-tat.
The next score was a free from Donegal's Conchur O Dochartaigh but immediately after that the usually accurate Jordan Murphy put his first of seven St Mark's wides in the half - five from Murphy.
“Yes, a lot of them were from tight angles but I was shooting when I should have passed and things like that. Sir told us at the break to just do the simple things right and I came back out and did that," he said.
Murphy scored his first point in the seventh minute followed by points traded between Jack McEvoy(2), and Padraig Mac Cuinneagain (2). A free converted by Conchur O Dochartaigh, who Donegal relied far too heavily on for scores, and another scored by Rostrevor's Joe Morgan made it 1-4 to 0-5 after 20 minutes. Murphy knocked over another from play and the St Mark's boys might have forged ahead at this stage were it not for three consecutive wides and the fierce determination of their smaller opponents who hail from a school with a population of only 122 boys and who considered themselves as underdogs going into the final.
McAvoy had a great goal effort well saved with a tip-over by the Donegal keeper. But three minutes before the break O Dochartaigh displayed some lovely skills as he twisted and turned his way through three St Mark's defenders and launched the ball between the sticks.
Barr responded immediately with a magnificent mid-field catch that resulted in the last point of the half from Padraig Harper.
With the scoreboard reading 1-7 to 0-6, Colaiste na Carriage came back onto the field after the interval, all guns blazing and were it not for some steadfast defending by the back line and Burren keeper Callum Magill, and superb catching again by Barr who twice caught a goalward-bound ball on the line - but also saw yellow after a few too many over-zealous tackles - they may well have turned things around.
As it was though St Mark's withstood the ten-minute barrage and managed to come out of it with the four point margin intact, 1-10 to 0-9.
Whatever was said in the dressing-room that made this team believe that the Cup was destined for Down kicked in then, the shackles came off, and the winning mentality was unleashed as the three full-forwards scored four quick points followed by two goals within a minute of each other by the magnificent McAvoy and equally magnificent Conor Murray.
Colaiste na Carriage could only watch and admire along with the spectators as McGovern, captain Pearse Kelly and Magee finished the scoring at 3-18 to 0-9.
As Kelly raised the Cup and thanked St Mark's head of PE Paula McClorey and managers Sean O'Hare and Declan McReynolds for winning them the title with all their help and support throughout the year, he dedicated the win and the entire campaign to young Conal Baldwin, fellow pupil and footballer, who died tragically on Christmas Eve and who's dad Joe has every belief in this team.
“Today was about getting the job done and it's just another stepping stone for us at the minute," Pearse told the Democrat.
“The eye now is clearly on the All-Ireland which was last won by St Marks in 1997, and if these boys can just keep doing what they're doing and keep their faith in each other, there's no reason why it can't be won by them this year.
On this day though, it was all about celebrating the Ulster title.
ST MARK'S: Callum Magill, Padraig Harper, Conor FitzPatrick, Lorcan Brannigan, Peter Magee, Pearse Kelly (0-1), Eoin Rooney, C.J. Barr, Joe Morgan (0-2), jack McAvoy(1-5), Jodie McGovern(0-1), Tiarnan Rushe(1-0), Aaron Magee(0-3), Jordan Murphy(0-4) and Conor Murray(1-1). Subs used: Matthew Dipnall(0-1, for Rooney 37), Aaron Gregory(for Murray 56), Liam Magee (for Peter Magee 56), Darragh McPolin (for Harper 56) and Conor Keenan (for Magill 62).
COLAISTE NA CARRAIGE: Michael Mac Cuinneagain, Conchur Mac Giolla Cheara, Seamus mac Fhionnghaile, Criostoir O Beirn, Philib O Dohartaigh, Jason Mac a Ghoill, Donal O Laihgin(0-1), Padraig Mac Cuinneagain(0-2), Padraig O Beirn, Pol O Dohartaigh, Conchur O Dochartaigh(0-4), Dominic O Gallachoir, Pilib MacNern (0-2), Brian O Domhnaill and Padraig O Neill. Subs used: Sean Mac Guibhir (for O Gallachor 44) and Stiofan O Ceallachain (for Mac a Ghoill 58).
Send to a friend
Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.