Confident St Patrick’s retain Brock Cup

St. Patrick’s Maghera 1-8

St. Macartans, Monaghan 0-5

St Patrick’s Maghera returned the BT Brock Cup to their

trophy cabinet on Saturday past when they outplayed opponents, St Macartan’s Monaghan, and came away with a comprehensive six point victory which saw the local school retain the trophy for a second year.

Monaghan came into the game with a run of impressive performances through their knock-out games. They had also racked up an impressive scoring record – 20goals and 73 points in 5 games - but Maghera played a sweeper system despite having the assistance of the breeze and St MacCartan’s just didn’t have any answers to what was a very impressive and controlled performance from St Patrick’s. Alongside their defensive prowess though St Patrick’s also showed commendable composure and confidence on the ball as they continually broke out intelligently and to great effect with the strong running of Paul Gunning and Niall Mawhinney causing St Macartan’s big problems.

It was two points each at the end of the first quarter with both Monaghan points frees coming from midfielder Conor McCarthy, and Monaghan seeming quite happy with their efforts against the breeze. The closing minutes of the half would see St Patrick’s kick on with four unanswered points from Captain Ruairi McElwee, Odhran McGuckin, Gunning and Mawhinney. The Maghera lead was suddenly four points and Monaghan looked in trouble at the back as well as struggling to score, or make any significant impression, up front.

Needing a good start to the second period to rebuild some confidence St MacCartan’s instead endured a nightmare opening – their first attack producing another wide while St Patrick’s attacked, had McElwee pulled down close to goal and watched the captain step up and lash the penalty to the net. When McElwee added another free Maghera were already looking out of reach with only five minutes of the half gone at 1-7 to 0-2. Eight points was always going to be difficult for a team struggling to score at all from open play and with the Maghera defence continuing to control the game it was they who looked most likely to add to their tally. McAtamney and Mullan in midfield were giving St Patrick’s dominance in this key area and the overall dstrength and discipline of the defence was highlighted by excellent displays from Peter Hagan and Oisin Hegarty throughout.

The faint Monaghan hopes were fanned when they managed to add three unanswered points half way through the second period but even these did not reflect any real dominance in the game with Maghera guilty of some poor finishing at the other end. The result was almost guaranteed in the 22nd minute of the half when O’Dowd latched on to a bobbling ball squeezed through the Maghera defence and rolled the ball towards the corner of the net only to find Ciaran McCloy able to block the ball away. St MacCartans themselves seemed to accept the game was up when Gunning added another Maghera score and the Monaghan boys resorted to firing long, high ball in to the Mgahera defence – full back O’Doherty and centre back Cassidy revelling in the chance to display their aerial prowess.

St Patrick’s were good value for their six point victory and looked in control of the game from the end of the first quarter. Their defensive efforts, with Danny Tallon a very effective sweeper, thwarted any approach from St MacCartan’s, while their midfield enjoyed the better of exchanges in this area also. Up front Gunning and Mawhinney were constant threats with their intelligent running and movement off the ball and they had good support from McElwee and McGuckin. This win ensures the Brock Cup stays in St Patrick’s for a second year with the College teams enjoying an outstanding year of success on the f ootball, hurling and camogie fronts in recent months – the Brock title being the 12th Colleges title won by St Patrick’s in eleven months.

St Patrick’s captain Ruairi McElwee was presented with the Brock Cup by Sean McGourty of the Ulster Colleges Council.

Maghera : Ciaran McCloy (Glen), Oisin Hegarty (Glen), Cormac ODoherty (Slaughtneil), Paul McNeill (Slaughtneil), Cathal Mulholland(Glen), Connor Cassidy (Slaughtneil), Peter Hagan (Banagher) 0-1, Paul McAtamney (Swatragh) , Odhran Mullan (Castledawson), Odhran McGuckin (Newbridge) 0-1, Ruairi McElwee (Bellaghy) 1-3, Meehaul McGrath (Slaughtneil), Niall Mahwinney (Bellaghy) 0-1, Paul Gunning(Glen) 0-2, Danny Tallon (Glen).

Sub : Ciaran Mullan (Drumsurn) for M McGrath (inj).

Monaghan : Colm Murray, Shane Treanor, Thomas Lynch, Caolan McElwaine, Daithi Colton 0-1, Aodh Curran 0-1 free, Jack Turley, Conor McCarthy 0-2 frees, Kevin Loughran, John Mulligan, Tom Hayes, Francis Maguire, Christopher McAneneley, David McAllister, Michael O’Dowd 0-1.

Subs : Conor McKenna for J Mulligan, John Caullfield for D McAllister, Niall Kearns for C McAneneley, Brendan Boylan for F Maguire.

Stephen McNamee (Tyrone)