Oisin McGrath Shield Final
St Killian’s Garron Tower 9-5 St Joseph’s Newry 3-12
St Killian’s have won the Oisin McGrath Shield for the first time. This competition is a province-wide Year 8 football competition with over 50 schools playing at different grades during the first term.
St Killian’s initially won through from a blitz competition in Queen’s played before Halloween when we topped our group, St Joseph’s Newry giving us a very close run game in the final match.
That put both St Killian’s and St Joseph’s through to the semi-finals where they easily defeated St Joseph’s Coalisland and St Aidan’s Derrylin respectively in mid-November to set up this week’s final at the Valley Leisure Centre.
St Killian’s made the perfect start to the decider with Eamon Ward driving through the middle to open the scoring with a fine individual point and Cormac McConnell and Aran McCloskey quickly added goals.
St Joseph’s hit back with a few points but 1-1 from Cormac McConnell and a goal from captain Eamon Ward stretched St Killian’s lead although four points in a row, three from the excellent Calum Bradley pulled St Joseph’s back a little by half-time when the score stood at 4-3 to 0-6.
St Killian’s hit further goals from Kieran McRandal and Orrin O’Connor at the start of the second half, but the Newry side, led by Bradley exerted a lot of pressure on the Tower defence where the Glenravel quartet of goalie John Mitchell and strong full back line Niall Dickson, Niall Hynds and Fiontainn Hodgson denied St Joseph’s search for a goal time after time.
Niall Magee, Austin Birt and Cahan Graham were very impressive in half back easing the pressure on the full backs with constant ball carrying linking up with the forwards.
Midway through the half St Joseph’s hit their best period with goals from Bradley and Daire Saul, but St Killian’s came back strongly with goals from Cormac McKeown and Kieran McRandal to kill off the Newry side who kept battling to the end when Tiarnan Burns fired in a third goal for them.
In defeat Calum Bradley with 1-8 was a star man, while centre-half back Aaron McGuinness stood out as did Joe McKay up front.
At the end Ulster Schools’ co-ordinator Sean Fleming spoke highly of the skill levels of both teams before presenting the Shield to St Killian’s captain Eamon Ward.
St Killian’s: John Mitchell, Fionntan Hodgson, Niall Hynds, Niall Dickson, Austin Birt, Cathan Graham, Niall Magee, Orrin O’Connor 1-1, Cormac McKeown 2-1, Peadar O’Donnell, Eamon Ward capt. 1-1, Ben Rodgers, Aran McCloskey 1-0, Phelim Ward, Cormac McConnell, Kieran McRandal 2-0, James McKeegan, Thomas Glanville, Niall Okasha, Luca Bruxelles, Luke McIlroy, Joseph McLaughlin