St. Mary’s CBGS clinched the Danske Bank Leonard Cup in dramatic fashion with a late Dubhaltach Wilson goal securing a 4-08-2-13 win at the end of extra time in a breath-taking decider at the Dub this afternoon.
It was a repeat of last year’s Gallagher Cup final which St Patrick’s won comprehensively – despite a spirited St. Mary’s showing back in May.
Maghera made the brighter start on a sticky surface at the Dub and early scores from Jody McDermott and Peter McCullough (free) had them in the ascendancy.
But on the fifth minute St. Mary’s CBGS hit the front from their opening attack – Dubhaltach Wilson saw his shot crash off the crossbar, though Caoimhin Duffy was on hand to sweep the loose ball to the net.
Wilson increased his side’s lead from a converted free and Maghera responded through McDermott.
With a little over 10 minutes on the clock St. Patrick’s regained the lead as Jody McDermott swooped and flicked Peter McCullagh’s free past Rhys Camlin in the St. Mary’s goal.
Conor Murtagh had Maghera three to the good with a delightful point in the aftermath – though the sides were level on 13 minutes as Caoimhin Duffy raced on to a precise through-pass and rifled low past Patrick Reid to make it 1-04 to 2-01.
By the midway point in the half, a second Peter McCullagh free separated the sides – though the pre-match favourites took a firm grip on proceedings as Jody McDermott scrambled to the net for the second time within the first 20 minutes and Peter McCullagh converted his third placed ball of the half to give his side a 2-06 to 2-01 lead approaching the interval.
A brave deflected goal line clearance from Patrick Moyes denied Maghera a third goal but St. Mary’s ended the half on the front foot with successive converted frees from Dubhaltach Wilson leaving three points separating the sides at the midway point (2-06 to 2-03).
St. Patrick’s Maghera regained the initiative after the break and moved 2-10 to 2-04 ahead thanks to four scores without reply.
Peter McCullagh converted back to back frees to bring his afternoon tally to 0-05, Conor Murtagh doubled his afternoon account and a further point from James Friel left St. Mary’s with a lot of work to do.
But the Glen Road side weren’t about to throw in the towel and on the 46th minute found a route back into the game.
A long free wasn’t dealt with by the St. Patrick’s defence and ace predator Niall Fallon rifled to the net to give his side a lifeline at 2-10-3-04.
Dubhaltach Wilson added a quick free to bring the deficit down to two points going into the final 10 minutes.
With five minutes remaining Maghera thought they had found the clinching score as sharp shooter from the placed ball; Peter McCullagh sent a long range free to the net – St. Patrick’s celebrations were abruptly cut short however as referee Cathair Cunning spotted a square ball and disallowed the goal.
St. Mary’s pressed on and captain Fionn Mervyn converted a free to reduce the score to the bare minimum.
Maghera held their slender lead until the second minute of injury-time when Dubhaltach Wilson was brought to ground – under immense pressure Wilson kept his cool and converted to level the scores at 2-10 to 3-07.
Both sides had chances to win the game in the dying embers of added time though were off target as a thrilling contest headed to a gruelling 20 minutes of extra-time.
At the end of the first period both sides still couldn’t be separated as James Friel’s point was cancelled out by Dubhaltach Wilson (free).
Maghera were more clinical in the second period and looked to have secured victory through points from Peter McCullagh and Shea McKenna – with Rhys Camlin denying the Derry side a third goal that would have put the game beyond all doubt.
With less than 60 seconds of extra-time remaining, it looked as though a massive St. Mary’s battle would prove in vain – but Fionn Mervyn floated a free into the danger area and the faintest of touches from Dubhaltact Wilson in a congested area ensured the ball flew past Patrick Reid and into the net to give the Glen Road side a 4-08 to 2-13 lead.
St. Mary’s CBGS negotiated the remaining 60 seconds or so to claim their first Ulster Colleges honour and in the process cause a massive upset.
St. Mary’s CBGS: R Camlin, P Moyes, M McCloskey, S Hughes, B McCauley, F Mervyn (0-01f), P Shortt, A Churchill, C Boyle, E McBrearity, N McGarry, N Fallon (1-00), D Rogan, C Duffy (2-00), D Wilson (1-07f). Subs: B Burns for A Churchill (31 mins), M Howell for N McGarry (61 mins), N McGarry for M Howell (73 mins), P Donnelly for D Rogan (76 mins).
St. Pats Maghera: P Reid, PJ McVeigh, T O’Neill, P Brown, C O’Kane, R Dillon, S McLaughlin, P McCullagh (0-06, 0-05f), J Friel (0-02), T McKeagney, J McDermott (2-02), C Murtagh (0-02), C Murray, S McKenna (0-01), E Hassan.
Referee: Cathair Cunning (Dunloy).