Abbey CBS hold on for victory against St Pat's Armagh in MacRory Cup opener

The captains of Abbey CBS and St Patrick's pictured with the referee ahead of their MacRory Cup clash at Pairc Esler on Wednesday evening. Credit: Ulster Schools GAAThe captains of Abbey CBS and St Patrick's pictured with the referee ahead of their MacRory Cup clash at Pairc Esler on Wednesday evening. Credit: Ulster Schools GAA
The captains of Abbey CBS and St Patrick's pictured with the referee ahead of their MacRory Cup clash at Pairc Esler on Wednesday evening. Credit: Ulster Schools GAA
Danske Bank Ulster Schools MacRory Cup: Abbey CBS, Newry 3-5 St Patrick’s, Armagh 0-13

Things got a little too close for comfort at the end, but the Abbey CBS were able to hold on for the victory against St Patrick’s, Armagh in their MacRory Cup opener, after goals from Harry Lynch, Rory Powell and Conall McGeough.

It took the Newry school some time to get up and running, but the game shot into life with Lynch’s goal on 14 minutes. Mikel Farrugia’s kick out was punched on by James O’Hanlon – who had an excellent game in midfield – and collected by Lynch just beyond his own 45-metre line. What happened from there was remarkable, as he went on a lightning-fast solo run from his own half, gliding past defenders like they weren’t there, and although he had options left and right, he backed himself to go all the way, and got through one on one and buried a left footed effort beyond the outstretched St Pat’s goalkeeper.

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It may only be the first round of fixtures in the MacRory Cup, but that goal will be hard to top for the remainder of the competition.

Over the next half hour, the two sides traded points back and forth, and the game was closely contested – 1-5 to 0-6 – coming into the final quarter. However, the Abbey added a second goal, when the St Pat’s defenders went to sleep and were caught out with a simple over the top ball which left a 2v1 inside. Oran Connolly supplied the ball to the free Powell, and he was cool, calm and collected in rounding the goalkeeper, before he drove the ball into the back of the net.

Moments later it appeared to be game over when Eoin O’Hare showed his lightning pace to get away from his marker before supplying McGeough at the perfect time, and the second half substitute buried his effort at the near post to make it a seemingly unassailable 3-5 to 0-7 lead.

However, St Pat’s refused to go down without a fight. They scored six points on the trot, and with time running out they had a chance to leave Pairc Esler with a point, when they were awarded a free kick just inside the 45-metre line. It wasn’t an easy chance, and much to the relief of the Abbey CBS’ players and support, the free taker dragged his shot wide at the near post, and the Abbey held on for the victory.

St Colman’s claim a draw whilst St Paul’s fall to Omagh

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Elsewhere, a late penalty goal helped St Colman’s, Newry come from behind to claim a 1-8 apiece draw with St Michael’s, Enniskillen on Tuesday afternoon, whilst St Paul’s, Bessbrook had a difficult opener, taking on reigning All-Ireland Hogan Cup champions Omagh CBS, and they were defeated 2-16 to 0-9 in Lurgan.

For the full match report between Abbey CBS and St Patrick’s, see next week’s Newry Reporter – in shops on Wednesday November 22!