Brilliant Ballycastle in All-Ireland final

Diarmaid McShane
Diarmaid McShane

Danske Bank Mageean Cup champions Cross and Passion College, Ballycastle have reached their second successive Masita All-Ireland Schools’ Buggy Cup final following a superb performance over Tulla in Pairc Tailteann on Saturday.

Despite falling two points behind in the opening ten minutes, Ballycastle got back on track with an excellent goal from Shane McGrath, their opening score in the 11th minute.

Although St Joseph’s Secondary School, Tulla pulled back to level at 1-2 to 0-5 with frees from Brian Fahy, Ballycastle pulled clear with a run of four unanswered points, two for free-taker Cormac McClafferty and one each for McGrath and Johnny McErlean, the latter a huge score after McErlean had caught Ciaran Butler’s puck-out, turned a pointed from 70 metres.

Changing over 1-6 to 0-6 down, Fahy and Darren Chaplin narrowed the gap to the minimum early in the second half.

However, Ballycastle hit another good patch and entering the last ten minutes, points from McErlean, McClafferty, Diarmuid McShane and a fine solo effort from TT Butler had pushed them three clear of the Munster champions.

Fahy and Gary Cooney reduced it to the minimum again leaving the Ulster champions to hold out for the last five minutes. They did, turning away two long range frees in the last minute to reach the decider by 1-10 to 0-12.

In the other semi-final, Mountrath CS from Laois swamped St Calasantus College, Oranmore by 3-22 to 1-9 to mark themselves down as favourites for the final in Semple Stadium on Holy Saturday.

Cross & Passion : C Butler, C Blair, S McBride, PJ Graham capt., C McCaughan, OD Laverty, C Boyd, TT Butler, S Hunter, J McErlean, C McClafferty, C Patterson, A O’Boyle, S McGrath, D McShane. Sub : C Dallas for C Patterson.