This was one of the finest ever deciders in the history of this competition, holders St. Paul’s Kilrea just edging out the Claudy school in an absorbing contest that was in doubt until the final whistle.
Indeed, after hitting 1-2 in the first three minutes, with Eunan McGlinchey netting in the first minute and ‘player of the match’ Bobby Mullan (0-7) getting his first point, Kilrea were under the cosh for much of the rest of the game, despite McGlinchey scoring his second goal five minutes into the second half for a 2-8 to 3-3 lead.
St. Patrick’s & St. Brigid’s bounced back from their early setback with an Ethan Sweeney goal in the 4th minute and took a 3-1 to 1-3 lead through an Odhran Crumley goal in the 8th minute and a second from Sweeney two minutes later.
Kilrea trailed 3-3 to 1-5 at half time but were 2-8 to 3-3 in front five minutes into the second half, Eunan McGlinchey’s second goal putting them in front.
And, despite again falling behind, 4-3 to 2-8 midway through the second half to a Caolan O’Connor goal, Bobby Mullan brought his tally to 0-7 from open play with three superb points as St. Paul’s powered to victory in a compelling contest.
After the game Michael McLaughlin, representing the McKeever family from Steelstown, presented the cup to the St. Paul’s captain Bobby Mullan.
The St. Paul’s, Kilrea scorers were Bobby Mullan 0-7, Eunan McGlinchey 2-0, Sean McAleese 0-3, 0-1 free, Ryan Deighan, Ben O’Kane and Eoin O’Neill 0-1 each
The St. Patrick’s & St. Brigid’s, Claudy scorers were Ethan Sweeney 2-2, 0-1 free, Caolan O’Connor 1-2, 0-1 free, Odhran Crumley 1-0 and Keelan Smyth 0-1
St. Paul’s, Kilrea: Aodhan Hardy; Seoirse Harkin, Ruairi McCamphill, Tiarnan Quigg; Pearse McWilliams, John Eddie Convery, Ryan Deighan; Sean McAleese, Ben O’Kane; Eoin O’Neill, Bobby Mullan, Ewan Dixon; Eunan McGlinchey, Niall Johnston, Christopher McMahon
St. Patrick’s & St. Brigid’s, Claudy: Conan Mullan; Sean O’Connor, Conor Lyons, Ciaran Higgins; Niall Cartin, Cillian Higgins, Matthew Brown; Odhran Crumley, Conor McGee; Keelan Smyth, Conal White, Caolan O’Connor; Liam Brolly, Ethan Sweeney, Ruairi McFeely. Substitute: Kieran McCormick
Referee: Peadar Lagan (Glen)