HOLY Trinity College Cookstown set up an All-Ireland Vocational Schools date in Croke Park this weekend, as they defeated a fancied Clonakilty Community College of Cork writes Jason Quinn.
After losing out at this stage last year, it was clear from the offset that the Tyrone School weren’t going to fail second time around and had stormed into an eleven point lead by the time Clonakilty registered their first score in the twentieth minute. Man of the match James McGahan who finished the game with 1:5 to his credit opened the scoring, courtesy of a free in the first attack.
Declan McClure had two pointed efforts from frees in between James Loughran’s first of the afternoon from play and on the Eighth minute nippy corner forward Kieran McGeary slotted over a free, before two fine pointed efforts from play inside a minute, from Barry Potter and again McGahan, who stretched his sides lead to seven.
Clonakilty began to exert some pressure creating their opening chance but big midfielder Cian Crowley slotted wide on the twelfth minute and on the next attack McClure slotted over another placed ball for Holy Trinity. The killer blow which Clonakilty were trying to avoid landed in the eighteenth minute, when through good work from McGahan, who laid it off to the on rushing John Loughran, Holy Trinity added their first major of the day to open up an eleven point lead and put one foot into the final.
Clonakilty responded with a free from Jack O’Mahony before the same player missed a potential three pointer, blasting the ball wide. McGahan then became involved again, scoring a fine fisted point, followed straight up by a superb 40yard, outside of the boot effort, from the equally influential Declan McClure from Clonoe before McGahan helped himself to his fourth point of the contest to open up a healthy thirteen point lead, with five minutes of the half remaining.
In the closing stages of the half, Clonakilty’s O’Mahony stroked over another free, before they narrowed the gap, with a goal coming from wing forward Ian Falvey. Cookstown clubman James McGahan finished the half as he started, striking over a free, this time a 45 yard effort off the ground, to leave ten points between the sides at the short whistle. Kieran McGeary opened the scoring in the fifth minute of the second half and when that man McGahan blasted to the net on the eight minute, it was game over as a contest as Holy Trinity began to relax, possibly already thinking of their day out in Croke Park, managing to score only once more in the half, this time from big midfielder Anthony Devlin on the 24th Minute.
Clonakilty’s Jack O’Mahony tagged on another couple of frees and when they were awarded a 16th minute penalty they had a glimmer of hope but Gearoid Barry’s spot kick was well saved by the ever reliable Anthony McKenna, in the Cookstown Schools goals.
Devlin then added his and Holy Trinity’s last score of the game and in the final minutes of the half, Jonathon Leahy put a bit of respect back on the scoreboard, notching 1:1 for his side, before their first goal scorer Falvey was dismissed in injury time, for a straight red card offence.
Once again Holy Trinity didn’t deliver to their full potential for sixty minutes and had it not been for their first half lead they could have found themselves in trouble in the second half.
They will take a lot of positives from their first half display but as many negatives from the second half and Joint manager Adrian O’Donnell was just glad at the end, to see his side keep their lead, but says they have an awful lot to work on between now and Saturdays final.
“For twenty or twenty five minutes in the first half we played really well but we certainly didn’t build on it in the second half. That second half of football there the day won’t be any were near good enough next week. We have a lot to work on come Monday and the boys know they have a lot to work on, because as I said, that second half performance was just so poor and we were lucky to have such a cushion at half time.”