St. Paul’s make history and march into MacRory Cup Final

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Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
Community, Featured Story, Sport
A bit of GAA history was created tonight in the Athletic Grounds, Armagh when MacRory Cup newcomers St Paul’s Bessbrook reached the final of the competition by convincingly beating  Monaghan side St McCartan’s on a scoreline of 2-12 to 1-06.

The noisy neighbours are in with a realistic chance of MacRory Cup success. Photo: Jerome Quinn

The south Armagh school came out of the traps flying and scored in the first minute of play with a free from Eoghan Burns. Some slick attacking play seen the Bessbrook men hit another four unanswered points, 3 in a row from the left and right boot of captain Cairon O’Hanlon and another score from the dangerous Eoghan Burns. No doubt St McCartan’s were in shock and the St Paul’s men were not for letting up when they had the bit between their teeth as another point from Man of the Match contender Blaine Malone and a wonderful goal from Connor Nugent seen the Brook side lead 1-6 to 0-0 with only 17 minutes registered on the clock. But the Monaghan men were not out, they staged a mini-revival when they were awarded a penalty kick on the 21st minute mark. The penalty was converted leaving the scoreline 1-7 to 1-0. St McCartan’s went on a roll and hit 3 unanswered points, when for the final ten minutes of the first half the ‘Brook men went to sleep and were seemingly chasing shadows. Half Time Score: St Paul’s 1-7 to 1-3 Whatever the St Paul’s management team of John Rafferty and Martin O’Rourke said at halftime must have stung as the St Paul’s side that came in to that second half essentially went from boys to men. The fluidity of their football from the goalkeeper to their number 15 was at times breathtaking to watch. Daniel Nugent registered the first score of the second half on 34 minutes then quickly followed up by a Connaire Mackin point a minute later. St Paul’s were in cruise control at this point and scored possibly the best goal this year in all competitions.

St. Paul’s Blaine Malone had a fantastic game

Ciaron O’Hanlon won a breaking ball in the middle of the field which was followed by a quick succession of very slick, fast, controlled and precision hand passes that found Caolan McCullough on the edge of the parallelogram and McCullough gave the St McCartan’s ‘keeper no chance when he drilled the ball into the roof of the net, leaving the score 2-10 to 1-3 in favour of the ‘Brook side. That essentially was the end of St McCartan’s challenge and a few more scores from Blaine Malone, Connaire Mackin and 3 decent points from the Monaghan side the game was well and truly over. St Paul’s won this match from the midfield, St McCartan’s were a lot bigger than the Bessbrook team but St Paul’s used a lot of speed to make up for that, their passing and work-rate was phenomenal; it was heartening to see a lot of passing from the foot. It was a historic night that seen St Paul’s come of age, this team are 5 years in the making and have the look of a MacRory Cup winning side about them. They play the winners of the other semi final that went to a reply after St Patrick’s, Maghera and St Colman’s, Newry drew their first encounter  0-14 1-11.
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