St Paul’s JH School (Lurgan) Holders 2-9 Breifne College, Cavan 3-1
In the forty years of the Ulster Bank McDevitt Cup, eighteen schools have their names engraved on its base. In first and second place stand St Mark’s High School and St Ciaran’s College, Ballygawley, with eight and seven titles respectively, but thanks to their retention of the coveted trophy with this hard fought win over Cavan’s Breifne College, St Paul’s Junior High School take up third position in the roll of honour with this, their fourth Ulster title.
That feat looked far from possible at a rain soaked Athletic Grounds in Armagh when, aided by a strong breeze, the pre match favourites, Breifne saw them take the lead with a well struck goal from corner forward Finbar Moore. Finding great difficulty in making inroads against a strong Cavan defence, it took almost seven minutes for their first attack. However, they made it count when Jack Conlon placed Eoin McConville who brought the sides level when he placed his shot past McGovern in the Cavan goal.
Both sides swopped points through Cormac Wall and Shea Geraghty, before their probing runs from defence yielded points for Callum Magee and Jack Haddock. The Armagh champion’s euphoria was short lived when a pass from the Cavan defence was collected by full forward Wall whose deflected shot eluded the despairing dive of Oisin Campbell.
Thanks to the dominance of captain Jack Lenehan at midfield, back came the Armagh champions and as a result of his probing passes, Haddock and Geraghty edged the Lurgan side in front, before Ruairi McConville finished the scoring to send the Armagh champions in at half time leading by 1-6 to 2-1.
The introduction of Rioghan Meehan before half had given more stability to the Lurgan side, but even had to look on despairingly as Breifne corner forward, Sean Martin, bore down on the Lurgan goal before he was thwarted by a magnificent save by Campbell.Both sides had their periods of dominance, but poor shooting saw the Cavan champions spurn many opportunities, while at the other end, Eugene Doran and Tiarnan Kelly stretched the Lurgan side four points ahead.
Thrown a lifeline when team captain, Danny Cusack scored his side’s third goal, Breifne could only look on as Geraghty added to the St Paul’s total with a point, when a goal looked certain, but minutes later, saw their hopes finally dashed by Meehan.
The Clann Eireann player had only lasted five minutes in the opening game when he fell and broke his wrist, but patience, training and a will to get back saw him readt take his place in the side, if given the chance. Take his chance he did, as he capitalised on indecision in the Breifne defence as a high ball dropped in and he slammed it to the net to record a famous victory for the Lurgan side.
St Paul’s Scorers:
R Meehan, E McConville (1-0 each), S Geraghty (0-3), J Haddock (0-2), E Doran, C Magee, T Kelly, E McConville (0-1 each)
St Paul’s Team : St Paul’s Team: Oisin Campbell, Rory Shine (Clann Eireann), Aidan Mulholland (St Mary’s), Jack Conlon (Clann Eireann), Eugene Doran (St Peter’s), Jamie Haughey (Wolfe Tones), Jack Haddock (Clann Eireann) Jack Lenehan (St Mary’s), Mark McAfee (St Mary’s), Jamie Lamont (St Mary’s), Calum Magee (Clann Eireann), Tiarnan Kelly (St Peter’s) Shea Geraghty (St Peter’s), Ruairi McConville (Clann Eireann),Eoin McConville (St Paul’s)
Subs: Rioghan Meehan (Clann Eireann) for Shine, Lee Haughian (St Paul’s) for Lamont, Cein France (Clan na Gael), Niall Loney (Clan na Gael), Aodhan Scullion (Clann Eireann), John McMorrow (Clann Eireann), Emmet Tighe (Wolfe Tones), Conor McKeegan (Clann Eireann) Oisin Farquahar (St Paul’s), Patrick McGibbon (St Peter’s), Sam McClarnon (Clan na Gael)