St Louis suffer heartbreak
Tuesday, 19 March 2013
ST LOUISE GRAMMER KILKEELl 1-4 ST MICHAEL'S GRAMMAR LURGAN 1-6
ST LOUIS lost their star man at the beginning of the second half and with it, their chances of winning the McLarnon Cup final.
The Kilkeel side could still have won it when referee Cathal O'Hagan awarded a penalty to them on 59 minutes. James Reilly wrong-footed the goalkeeper but his effort unluckily came off the left-hand post and rebounded to safety.
They were unable to find the goal they needed in the final four frantic minutes of injury time and St Michael's went on to lift the McLarnon Cup.
The moment that victory slipped away from St Louis was just after the break. Their inspirational midfielder Ronan McAlinden sustained a leg injury and minutes later, was stretchered off with his left leg in a brace.
From then on, St Louis struggled for scores and St Michael's began to dominate.
The first half was the typical fare that finals sometimes produce - both sides were tense and uncertain in front of goal. St Louis dominated possession for the first 20 minutes while St Michael's were the better team in the closing stages.
McAlinden proved to be the difference during the first half. His prowess from the dead ball was vital to Kilkeel but even he erred when he missed what was arguably his easiest chance to score from the dead ball on 22 minutes.
Still, St Louis went in at half-time with a two-point lead and they may feel that it should have been more.
They went into an early lead in the second minute when James Reilly was fouled close to goal. McAlinden converted with ease but it took another six minutes for St Louis to add a second point, even though St Michael's were finding it difficult to work the ball beyond the half-way line.
Kilkeel's second point was their only one from play during the first half and almost inevitably McAlinden was involved. He showed strength to hold off his marker before fisting inside to John-Paul Farrell who drilled the ball over from close range.
St Michael's then reduced the arrears thanks to a fine solo run and point from their tricky corner-forward James McDade.
It was a warning sign because on 16 minutes only a superb save from Caolan Magee in the St Louis goal denied Ruairi Loughran from scoring a goal which had been set up with an exquisite cross-field ball from Padraig Judge.
It sparked St Louis' into life and two free conversions by Alinden, the second of which was a superb long-range effort gave them a three-point advantage.
Despite their dominance though, St Louis were guilty of missing chances as they amassed five wides during the first half.
As the final minutes of the first half played out, it appeared that those misses might have been costly but luckily for Kilkeel, St Michael's could only add a further point from Oisin Lenehan before the break as they also were guilty of firing wide on five occasions.
With a 0-4 to 0-2 lead at half-time, there was still plenty to play for in the second half.
Then came the injury to McAlinden at the beginning of the second period and a feeling of inevitability swept over the Athletic Grounds.
As if to underline what a huge loss McAlinden was to the team, three scoreable frees, which he would surely have converted, were missed by his team-mates in his absence.
James McDade scored another fine solo point for the Lurgan side and when Ruairi Loughran drew the sides level there was a feeling that the momentum had well and truly swung in favour of St Michael's.
On 47 minutes, they scored a decisive goal. John Magee lobbed a high ball into the square which Ruairi Loughran palmed home from close range.
Padraig Judge converted a free to stretch their lead and Magee added another on 50 minutes to leave the Armagh side with a six point advantage.
Still, St Louis rallied and a superbly smashed goal from Daithi Young gave the Kilkeel side hope. Those hopes were cruelly dashed when Reilly unluckily missed the penalty that would have given St Louis' the McLarnon Cup after Gareth McDowell had been fouled in the area.
As it was, it simply was not to be for St Louis and they will hope to turn the pain of this loss into victory in the years to come.
ST LOUIS KILKEEL: Caolan Magee, Ciaran McKay, Sean Gallagher, Shane Sloan, Conn Rooney, Tomás McInerney, Jonathan Connolly, Ronan McAlinden (0-3, 3f), Kory Colgan, John-Paul Farrell (0-1), James Reilly, Daithi Young (1-0), Piaras Kane, Gareth McDowell, Ryan Spiers (Subs) Kevin Sloane for Ronan McAlinden (35 mins), Aron D'Arcy for Ryan Spiers (51)
ST MICHAEL'S LURGAN: Jack Wilson, Jason Rogers, Drew McKenna, Adam Kelly, Aaron Casey, Shea Heffron, Eoin McCabrey, Oisin Lenehan (0-1), Jonathan Torode, John Magee (0-1), Diarmuid O'Hagan, Alex Mackey, Padraig Judge (0-1, f), Ruairi Loughran (1-1), James McDade (0-2) (Subs) Declan Heaney for Alex Mackey (48 mins), Niall O'Neill for John Magee (54).
Send to a friend
Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.