RANNAFAST CUP FINAL 2015
Patrician High School 1-18
St Macartan's 2-6
Ireland recently qualified for the Euros in France next summer after a series of qualifier games. If you were to take the noise, excitement, emotion, pride and tension from all the Irish games and roll it all into one, you still would not have been able to match the atmosphere in Inniskeen on Friday the 20th of November. The stage was set for an absolutely cracking final and both teams unquestionably delivered.
Patrician High School went into the game as slight favourites having achieved the seemingly impossible and knocked out Ulster GAA juggernauts St. Pats Maghera in the Semi Final. However, nobody questioned the capabilities of St. Macartans to cause an upset as they were current Rannafast holders and had copious amounts of high calibre footballers at their disposal. Nevertheless, as soon as the ball was thrown in the High School boys set off like greyhounds in hot pursuit of a hare and never once did they ease up.
From the beginning both teams fought relentlessly to gain early control of the game. The intensity was surreal. The Sem tried letting in early ball to their big full forward but the High School had their own towering figure in the shape of Magheracloone’s Niall Marron in full back who was dominant in the aerial battle throughout the game. The High School took an early lead when The Sem committed the mortal sin in allowing Andrew woods onto his left foot anywhere inside their 45. Nonetheless, during this early stage of the game The Sem were able to retaliate with scores of their own coming from the boot of Ronan King then the fist of Aaron Mohan. Yet 2 frees from Andrew woods and some extraordinary play from an unstoppable Jack McMahon kept the High School boys marginally ahead in the opening few minutes.
The High School began to get more of a stranglehold on their opponents and sweeper Oran Martin became a huge thorn in The Sems’ side as he seemed to be there to win every break and intercept every pass hindering all attacks. With the High Schools defence on top it was the hard running quartet of Liam Og Murray, Ciaran Mc Nulty, Oisin Wilcox and Barry Kieran who began to shine. The Sem simply had no response to their ability to turn defence into attack with long hard runs they displayed superhuman levels of fitness and seemed unable to tire out. Score from Barry, Oisin and sharpshooter Sean Burns carried the High School into half time with a 6 point lead. A game of such intensity led PHS into a comfortable half time result.
HT: PHS 0-10 SEM 0-4
The second half began and 2 years of experience in A football showed on the High School players. Having lost games they should have killed off in previous years the High School were not going to let this happen again. It was this drive that led the High School to blitz The Sem in the second half. Kieran Slavin’s heroic defending and leadership among his peers was admirable from the big centre back, denying The Sem any chance of breaking through. St Macartans possessed very dangerous high scoring forwards who were prominent and prolific all throughout the championship.
On the other hand I would be willing to wager they’re all having Seamus Kindlon, Conor McKeown and Tiarnan McCourt themed nightmares as they were simply starved of any scoring opportunities by the very much informed Patrician High School defence. The High School conceded one score early on in the second half then began to take total control keeping The Sem scoreless for 20 minutes. It was during this period the sheer footballing brilliance of Sean Burns shone. He began to become too much for The Sem to handle and wreaked havoc in their defence scoring 1-3 in a short space of time which proved to be enough to seal him the man of the match award. Scores from Donnach Swinburne, Andrew woods and Jack McMahon kept the scoreboard ticking. Until The Sem began to dominate the final part of the game and piled men forward with Robbie McAlister getting a point and substitute Patrick McCarron getting 2 goals in the dying stages of the game. Despite this last ditch comeback from The Sem it was not enough and the High School won comfortably in the end.
Transition Year student PHS