Danske Bank Faul Cup final
De La Salle Downpatrick 1-6 St Killian’s Garron Tower 0-5
St Killian’s could have won this Danske Bank Faul Cup final by a couple of points or they could have lost heavily. That was the stark reality of an enthralling game at the Dub on Thursday last.
De La Salle Downpatrick played with the wind behind them in the opening half and recorded no less than 14 wides. Yes they dominated general play but didn’t make it count on the score-board, while St Killian’s had three gilt-edged chances of goals at the other end.
Two of those came on the end of great runs from James Morgan with the ball flying across the goals to safety at the other post.
The third goal chance was created by Eoin Hynds, but he shot from too far out when put through and goal-keeper Odhran O’Connor made a comfortable save.
Overall however De La Salle Downpatrick were the better team with players such as Curtis Ward, Andrew McCoubrey Corey Mahon and Daniel McMenamin composed in possession, but they found it hard to shake off a very determined St Killian's outfit that was dangerous right until the end.
The Antrim side held firm in defence with Declan McAuley, Aidan McKenna and Ed McQuillan prominent. Sean McKay was as big a threat up front as McMenamin was for the opposition, but he had to come too deep to gather possession.
The opening half was a strange one, with those three goal chances for the Tower boys – and yet they failed to score at all. At the other end, De La Salle dominated after they opened with two points inside 90 seconds.
But they built up a wide count of 14 through a combination of wasteful shooting and superb defence from St Killian’s. Notably Downpatrick didn’t create a goal chance at all over that period of dominance and the only goal of the game came from a speculative punt that dipped just under the bar with goalie Caolan Morgan blinded by the low sun.
That happened in the 14th minute and Downpatrick’s only other score of the half was a late free from the very dangerous Daniel McMenamin to leave it 1-3 to 0-0 at the turnover and St Killian's in with a real chance of an upset.
The Tower boys made use of the breeze immediately on the re-start, Finlay Walker placing Sean McKay for a point inside 15 seconds. But crucially they didn't add to that score with Sean Paul McKenna’s searching run down the left bringing a brilliant save from Odhran O'Connor in the 44th minute.
McMenamin raised the siege a minute later with a point for De La Salle and during the last quarter they managed to respond with a score each time St Killian's hit a point.
Kian Tierney punched a point with his first touch after James Morgan had given the Tower a lift. Then Jack Hazard hit a brilliant point from a free in the left corner after Sean McKay had pointed twice to narrow the gap to four points.
In the 57th minute McKay again reduced the gap to four, but De La Salle kept the play in their opponents' half for the remaining five minutes until the referee’s long whistle brought relief.
St Killian’s didn’t manage to raise their game to the heights that had seen them make their way through the competition. However they have made progress in football and they will hope to build on this over the next couple of years.
De La Salle: Odhran O’Connor, Conor Kearney, Matthew Shearer, Conrad McMullan, Christopher Curran capt, Andrew McCoubrey,Curtis Ward, Nathan McShane, Corey Mahon 0-1 free, Ben Curran 1-0, Jack Hazard 0-1 free, Odhran Deegan, Conor Curran, Daniel McMenamiin 0-3, 0-2 frees.
Subs : Declan Burns, for C Curran (37), Kian Tierney 0-1 for O Deegan (47), Jack Maguire for C McMullan (50).
St Killian’s: Caolan Morgan, Declan McAuley, Peter McLoughlin, Francis McCurry, Michael McDonnell, Aidan McKenna, Ed McQuillan, Conleth O’Loan, James Morgan 0-1, Sean Paul McKenna, Finlay Walker, Eoin Hynds, Kieran Mulvenna, Ronan Donnelly, Sean McKay 0-4, 0-2 frees.
Subs : Eoin Ritson for R Donnelly (23), R Donnelly for E Ritson (48).