PCC Falcarragh 2-09 St.Mark’s Warrenpoint 0-14
BY KEVIN KELLY AT HEALY PARK
THE scenes of jubilation at the final whistle in Healy Park on Wednesday afternoon demonstrated what this result meant to PCC Falcarragh as they ensured their place in the history books by becoming the first Donegal School to win the Ulster Bank Under-16 Arthurs Cup.
They went into the game as massive underdogs against a St.Mark’s Warrenpoint side who were looking to win their tenth title at this level and who contained a number of survivors from last season’s success.
Stephen Doohan’s side though never read the script as they produced a superb display to emerge worthy winners. In the first half they moved the ball at pace and it worked a treat as they established a 1-6 to 0-5 interval advantage.
When the defending champions reeled of the opening five points of the second half it would have knocked the stuffing out of most sides but Falcarragh showed what they were made off and when they hit 1-2 without reply they had an advantage that they were never to lose.
In the closing moments St.Mark’s piled on the pressure but the Falcarragh lads defended manfully and when the final whistle sounded they were Ulster champions.
Michael Langan, who was a danger throughout, opened the scoring for the winners inside forty seconds when he turned sharply to dissect the posts. In the third minute Langan released Michael Fitzgerald but with a goal on the cards the left half forward blazed wide.
Aaron Magee levelled matters from a free before Daniel Devlin and Magee traded scores. Langan then landed a wonderful point from out on the wing but by the 17th minute the reigning champions were in front for the first time thanks to efforts from Conor Owens and Liam Kerr.
Centre half forward Ciaran McGinley drew Falcarragh level before the Donegal champions struck for a brilliant goal in the 20th minute. It was all about Langan as he cut in from the right wing before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner of the net past stranded keeper Conor Keenan.
The same player then added a point with his left and at that stage Falcarragh were well in control with Jason McGee and Daniel Devlin on top in midfield and Shane Langan winning a lot of possession as a sweeper. Tiarnan Rushe took a fine point with the outside of his boot to leave just a score between the two sides but Falcarragh captain Jason McGee had the final say of the half with a fine point in injury time to leave it 1-6 to 0-5 at half-time.
St.Mark’s had the wind at their backs for the second period and they wasted little time in trimming Falcarragh’s advantage although having said that the winners went close to a goal in the opening seconds when Dylan Doherty shot into the side netting.
Magee (2), Paddy Smyth and Liam Kerr all had points for St.Mark’s to level matters with Doherty unlucky at the other end of the field when his shot came of the post as well as the bar. Kerr then put the holders in front in the 13th minute but sixty seconds later Falcarragh were level when McGee got his side’s first score of the second half.
A surging run and finish from Magee put St.Mark’s back into the lead but that was to be the last time that they would have their noses in front and when they lost midfielder CJ Barr to a black card Falcarragh seized their opportunity.
Two points in as many minutes from Doherty and Langan gave their side a lead that they were never to lose before the crucial score of the contest arrived. McGinley went for a point but his shot went up in the air and he actually got on the end of it coming back down and managed to break the ball to Lee McColgan who blasted it into the roof of the net.
That put them four points up but with eleven minutes left to play it also proved to be their last score of the game. Langan had a rare wide from a scoreable free before St.Mark’s began to chip away at the lead with Rushe, Owens and defender Aaron Magee all on target. The Falcarragh defence was coming under increasing pressure but they held out to take the Ulster title and progress to the All-Ireland semi final.
PCC Falcarragh: Dean McColgan; Noel Sweeney, Jamie Hunter, Ciaran McFadden; Dylan Harkin, Christopher Cannon, Denis Coll; Jason McGee (0-2), Daniel Devlin (0-1); Lee McColgan (1-0), Ciaran McGinley (0-1), Michael Fitzgerald; Shane Langan, Michael Langan (1-4), Dylan Doherty (0-1). Sub: Michael Mulhern for Harkin.
St.Mark’s Warrenpoint: Conor Keenan; Brendan O’Hagan, Caolan Fitzpatrick, Cathal Fegan; Jack Grant, Darragh Murdock, Aaron Magee (0-1); CJ Barr, Noel Grant; Tiarnan Rushe (0-3), Aaron Magee (0-4), Peter Magee; Paddy Smyth (0-1), Conor Owens (0-2), Liam Kerr (0-3). Subs: Conor Lowry for Barr (black card), Aaron Gregory for Smyth.
Referee: Sean McCartan (Tyrone).
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