The old adage that goals win games ensured that St. Columb’s College were the victors in the Danske Bank O’Doherty Cup final at the Mid- Ulster Sports Arena in Cookstown St. Columb’s beat Our Lady and St.Patrick’s, Knock by 3-6 to 0-9.
St Columb’s scored two goals in the first quarter and another at the death, while Knock hit the post and had another Ronan McGrady effort brilliantly saved by the Derry side’s goalkeeper Dylan McCallion when they trailed St Columb’s by just three points.
However, it cannot be denied that St Columb’s dominated the opening half with the wind to assist them. Midfielder Barry Doherty was colossal in that period alongside the hard working David O’Doherty.There was some nervousness in their early efforts for scores, but once goals from Michael Lynch and captain Emmett McBride established a 2-1 to 0-2 lead, they settled and fully deserved the interval lead of 2-4 to 0-3. Their defensive work was particularly impressive, more often than not forcing turnovers through blocking and crowding out their opponents; Conrad McCloskey snuffing out the threat of Knock’s danger man Lorcan McMullan ably assisted by Marty Lynch and Darryl Mallett. Conor Savage, Ronan McGrady and Jack Ferrin had worked hard during that opening half for Knock and they looked to be in with a reasonable chance at the break with the wind advantage to come. However, St Columb’s defensive pressure forced them to hit 10 shots off target, and despite scoring points from Sean McGonigle (two), Rory Finnegan (two) and McGrady, Knock simply could not find the net and St Columb’s killed the tie right at the end when Michael Lynch fisted home his second, and his side’s third, goal.
It was great to see captain Emmett McBride rewarded for his seven years of excellence in Gaelic games by being presented with the O’Doherty Cup by Danske Bank’s John Deery, himself a St Columb’s past pupil .
This victory should augur well for next year with players such as Tomás McCrossan, Michael Kelly and Mickey McCallion back to lead the College towards a MacLarnon Cup.
St Columb’s: D McCallion; C McCloskey, S O’Connor, Martin Lynch, D Watson, E McBride (1-0), D Mallet, B Doherty, D O’Doherty, C Watson (0-1), P Ferris (0-2), Michael Lynch (2-1), T McCrossan, M Kelly, M McCallion (0-1). Subs: M Campbell for Martin Lynch, M Carling for Kelly, C Feeney for D O’ Doherty.
Knock: K McGovern; R McGrady (0-1), J Ferrin, R Hannigan, M Woods, C Francis, C Savage, T Grimley, N McGoran, L McGowan, S McGonigle (0-2), M McGrath, L Mc Mullan (0-1), R Finnegan (0-4 frees), D Rooney. Subs: R Murray for McGrath