A much more physically powerful and well skilled St Patrick’s Maghera team proved much too strong for St Killian’s Garron Tower in the Danske Bank Foresters’ Cup final in Glenravel on Saturday morning past. The Derry boys had first advantage of the buffeting wind and the accuracy of free-taker Richie Mullan, allied to the tremendous work rate shown all over the field, had them in a strong position at half time when they were 0-9 to 0-2 ahead. Crucially St Patrick’s then continued with a similar level of performance during the third quarter which ensured Garron Tower could not get back in to the game. Captain Mullan added a seventh point on the restart and then linked up with Ruairi Rafferty to set up Tiarnan McHugh for a 34th minute goal.
With St Killian’s struggling for scores Maghera, who were dominant in most positions, started pulling away with Mullan’s relentless accuracy from frees ensuring the scoreboard kept moving as St Patrick’s made their dominance count.
The opening quarter saw Mullan, and the hard working Peadar McLaughlin at centre forward, opening the scoring for Maghera, and although the game was evenly contested on the scoreboard the Maghera physical dominance began to tell on St Killian’s. Frees were given up in desperate attempts to thwart the driving attacks of St Patrick’s.
Four of those frees from Mullan soon stretched the gap and another from open play in the 29th minute made it 0-8 to 0-1. Maghera’s Ruairi Rafferty had been perpetual motion in this period and his work was rewarded when he grabbed a poc out and pointed for the last score of the half.
With the home crowd needing something to cheer them early in the second half St Patrick’s seemed to be well aware of the need for a strong third quarter. Indeed St Killian’s seemed to tire early in the half as the early 1-1 made the game safe for Maghera. Their work rate remained very high and their skill execution very good and, with St Killian’s unable to convert a number of normally scoreable frees, the belief soon drained from the North Antrim boys. St Patrick’s were relentless in their efforts and although they did spurn scoring chances themselves they did finish in style with the irrepressible Rafferty sending Mullan through to complete his scoring display with a well placed goal in the 57th minute.
Sean McGourty of Ulster Colleges was on hand to present the Forrester’s Cup to Maghera captain Richie Mullan on a day which saw this group of St Patrick’s hurlers collect their fourth Ulster Colleges title from five attempts. They will certainly want to ensure they challenge for Mageean Cup honours over the next two years.
St Patrick's Maghera : E Mulholland, M Doherty, N McNicholl, S McMullan, S McCloskey, T Walsh, O Magill, M McEldowney, M Quinn, R Mullan (1-9)(0-8 frees), P McLaughlin (0-3), C Campbell, D Quinn, T McHugh (1-0), R Rafferty (0-1), [ Daithi McLaughlin, Ciaran Hendry, Michael McCormick, Conor Diamond, Paddy Convery, Dara Simpson, Padraig O’Kane, Dara Craig, Peter Gribbon, Luke Gribbon, Eoghan Lavery, Cahir Gribbon, Padraig Quigg, Ryan Mulholland ]
Subs : S Óg O’Kane for C Campbell, P Convery for S McMullan, J O’Kane for D Quinn, F Ó Caiside for S McCloskey