MacLarnon Cup 2017
It is November and the temperatures are dropping but there was no evidence of a blanket in Garvaghy on Monday as St Eunan’s beat a highly fancied Castleblaney side in the MacLarnon Cup. After an enthralling game and victory before the Halloween against St. Pius X these last two games have had plenty of intensity and passion.
The Monday morning training sessions at 7:30am before school has shown the commitment of the players who harbour dreams of landing another MacLarnon Cup and a place on the wall with the likes of Martin Carney (1968), Paul Carr (79), Rory Kavanagh, Colm McFadden and Neil Gallagher (2000), Michael Murphy, Antoin McFadden, Eamon Doherty (2007) and the class of 2013 led by Conor O’Donnell.
Next Tuesday sees the last group game against St. Malachy’s who have in their ranks a certain Mr. Brolly, will decide the leader of the pack and qualification into the knockout stages. This is a must win game for both colleges and no doubt another epic encounter is on the cards.
St. Eunan’s College 3-14
Our Lady’s Castleblaney 2-14
The Monaghan side started well and decided to try and breach the Eunan’s rear guard, however the disciplined and patient Letterkenny school showed heart, character, determination and skill to absorb the onslaught and began to dominate proceedings as the half unfolded.
Kevin Kealy opened his account on 5 minutes and Dylan McCroary added another on 11 minutes. Blaney then hit two points before team captain and veteran of the last MacLarnon final win Niall O’Donnell opened his account form play on 16 minutes.
The effervescent Shane McDevitt split the stick with a fine effort from the righ on 17 minutes. Niall O’Donnell notched a brace on 18 and 19 minutes.
Blaney pulled one back before Louis Hasson after a lung bursting run finished with some aplomb to the net on the 25th minute. The Monaghan college added another point and Eunans and the man on fire Louis Hasson should have added another goal before Dylan McCroary pointed on 26 minutes.
Eunans were dominating the game and a speculative effort for a point rebounded off the post and fell to a Monaghan player, who on feeling contact went to ground and the Tyrone official gave a penalty.
Eoghan O’Boyle went the right way to save the shot but the on rushing ‘Blaney player found the net to give them a lifeline with the last kick of the half
St. Eunan’s College 1-07
Dylan McCroary and Paddy McColgan pointed on second and third minute of the second half before McColgan showed desire and hunger to get on the end of a ball to poke it to the net on the fourth minute. Niall O’Donnell pointed on the 8th minute. At this juncture the Monaghan college began to have a purple patch and another re-bound from the upright fell kindly for the ‘Blaney forward to give O’Boyle no chance. Shay Doherty added another goal for the Donegal outfit on 16 minutes and Evan McCroary got in on the scoring on 18 minutes as he led the Monaghan defence a merry dance. Niall O’Donnell added another point on 22 minutes but at this point the Monaghan lads began to fight as if their lives depended on it and the game was now in the melting pot.
Team Captain O’Donnell added another point and Hasson completed the scoring
Aaron Deeney and Ruairi Friel were rock solid at the back as was debutant Barry Gallagher from Termon who were the rocks that many a Monaghan attack floundered on. Sean Halvey and Michael McGroary were solid for the hour, while Brian Diver exuded class under the high ball and calmness as he linked with his midfielders.
Kevin Kealy and Shane Doherty from Termon worked tirelessly thwarting any direct line of advance for the Monaghan outfit.
Niall O’Donnell showed his experience and leadership from the front throughout and scored a point from a line ball on the 13m to deflate the Blaney lads further. This point was right out of the top drawer and Morris Fitzgerald and Michael Murphy would have been proud off. Paddy McColgan held the ball well to allow the Eunan’s half forwards come to the table and enjoy the spoils. Shane McDevitt was the subject of overzealous tackling and on a couple of occasions was McGregor like! Despite this he led the line and showed his marker a clean pair of heels for the duration.
Louis Hasson had a stellar game and revelled in the heat of battle. His running power and never say die attitude was inspirational to his team mates and worth commendation.