St. Paul’s Lurgan (holders) 6-08
St. Patrick’s & St.Brigid’s Claudy 3-18
St.Brigid’s & St. Patrick’s, Claudy ended St. Paul’s Lurgan’s grip on the Ulster Bank McDevitt Cup with a sensational performance in the Mid-Ulster Sports Arena.
With no mass defences and not a sweeper in sight, spectators were treated to end to end, attacking football between two well drilled sides with 16 different players getting on the scoresheet. In the end, the Derry champions prevailed by the minimum margin in a contest that swung one way and then the other, delighting their coach, Liam McElhinney.
Claudy had early points from Conan Connolly and Oisin McCloskey but two goals in the space of a minute from Tiarnan Harbinson and Sean McKeown left the holders in control. By the 20th minute though Claudy had kicked 10 points with McCloskey, Connolly, Shea McConomy and Sean Devine all on target.
In the 21st minute Harbinson grabbed his second goal of the game though moments later the Armagh lads found the net again, this time through Cain France.
Claudy looked to be in trouble as they had the wind at their backs but the efforts from McCloskey, Marc Dixon and McConomy saw them level by the break at 4-3 to 0-15.
Straight from the restart midfielder McConomy surged through on a 50m run to put his side in front and in the third minute of the half, the Derry champions grabbed a goal via Dixon.
St. Paul’s though demonstrated why they are champions as Harbinson completed his hat-trick, either side of a brace of points from Jack Conlon.
The Lurgan school was two points in front but the lead changed hands again 10 minutes from time when a strong run from full-forward Ryan Brown saw him fire to the net to leave it 2-17 to 5-7. Conlon levelled matters and when the next kick out went straight to him he ran through to get his side’s sixth goal of the game.
Trailing by three points, Claudy piled on the pressure with McCloskey blasting the ball to the roof of the net three minutes from time before adding what proved to be the winning score seconds later.
Lurgan had their chances to level things but failed to take them with Claudy just getting over the line in a breath-taking encounter.
St. Patrick’s & St. Brigid’s Claudy: Oisin O’Kane, Jack Lynch, Ryan Cunning, Sean Devine, Caolan Hone, Luke Murphy, Kallum Clark, Jack McCloskey, Shea McConomy, Liam Connolly, Oisin McCloskey, Conan Connolly, Cahir O’Connor, Ryan Brown, Marx Dixon. Subs – Callum Conwell for Clark, Shea Dalton for Dixon, Aaron Donaghy for Cunning (black card).
Scorers: Oisin McCloskey 1-6, Conan Connolly 0-4, Ryan Brown 1-1, Marc Dixon 1-1, Shea McConomy 0-2, Luke Murphy 0-1, Sean Devine 0-1, Cahir O’Connor 0-1, Jack McCloskey 0-1