St Mary’s CBGS Year 8’s headed to Garvaghy (Tyrone GAA centre of excellence) to contest the Ulster Colleges B blitz on Friday morning.
Along with St Louis’s from Ballymena, St Mary’s were the only other Antrim representation in the B competition.
St Mary’s were paired in a tough group with some big names including St Ronan’s Lurgan, St Ciaran’s Ballygawley and St Patrick’s Armagh. The first game saw the Glen Road boys pit their wits against St Ronan’s and they got off to a great start with a point from Joe Diamond and a goal from Niall Fallon giving them a 1-01 to 0-00 lead. St Ronan’s replied with a goal before the break but Fallon fired home his second of the game to give St Mary’s a 2-01 to 1-00 lead at the interval.
Moments after the restart, Matthew Lawlor prodded home to increase St Mary’s lead with a third goal, however St Ronan’s fought back and eventually levelled with two goals a point making it 3-01 to 3-01. The Lurgan side then hit the front for the first time before Niall Fallon grabbed his hat-trick with a cool dink over the advancing St Ronan’s goalkeeper after a lung bursting run from his own-half.
It looked as though St Ronan’s would secure victory as they scored their fourth goal of the game but St Mary’s showed superb character and with seconds to go Niall Fallon claimed his fourth goal of the game as he rose highest to palm the ball home and make it 5-01 to 4-02. St Ronan’s were afforded one last attack but could only register a point as St Mary’s held on for a superb 5-01 to 4-03 victory to start their campaign as they meant to go on.
After a short break St Mary’s next game was against St Ciaran’s Ballygawley who were defeated by St Patrick’s Armagh in their previous clash. St Mary’s started the game in a similar fashion to the St Ronan’s clash as Matthew Lawlor hit a point and it was followed by a goal from Niall Fallon who was surely a contender for the golden boot award.
Lawlor hit a further point along with Kyle McGreevy as St Mary’s lead 1-03 to 0-00. St Ciaran’s responded before the break with two points to cut the deficit to four points but Joe Diamond found the net just after the restart to increase St Mary’s lead to 2-03 to 0-02.
Ballygawley hit a point in response but a cool finish from Joe Diamond who dinked the ball over the Ballygawley keeper made it 3-03 to 0-03. St Ciaran’s Ballygawley hit a further two points but in between Diarmuid Rogan found the net before Ben McAuley finished the scoring rifling home with the last kick of the game to secure a 5-03 to 0-05 win and make it two wins from two for St Mary’s.
After a quick bite to eat St Mary’s faced St Patrick’s Armagh in the group decider to see who would contest the semi-final later in the afternoon. It was a backs to the wall job for the boys from the Glen Road however and they were eventually defeated despite a very spirited display and a superb score from Dulta Wilson. Before heading for home St Mary’s played St Ciaran’s Ballygawley once more in the plate final and they hit the front early with a goal from Joe Diamond. Fionn Mervyn who had spent the afternoon in a more defensive role was sprung into full-forward and found the net to increase St Mary’s lead and a goal from David Johnson made it 3-00 to 0-00 at the break.
After the break Niall McGarry added a point before St Ciaran’s hit a goal and a point in response. David Johnson finished the scoring with a cool finish to make it 4-01 to 1-02 at the final whistle and end what was a positive day for the boys from St Mary’s who did the school proud.