St.Mary’s have qualified for the last four of the Sigerson Cup battling in earnest to a two point win over Maynooth in Dundalk.
Once again, Shane McGuigan led the scoring charge for the ‘Ranch’ while Armagh midfielder, Jarlath Og Burns controlled the middle sector, covering every blade of grass along the way.
Late scores from McGuigan and wing-back, Colm Byrne secured the victory for the Belfast men as their defence held firm against an aerial barrage in injury time.
Maynooth held a slender one point advantage at the break after a nip and tuck battle with Stephen McConville and Padraig Fogarty trading scores.
In the second half, it appeared that Gavin McGilly’s men had the greater scoring options and turned the screw racing into a four point lead midway through the half as Niall Toner, McGuigan and Ryan Coleman landed scores.
With the clock ticking towards full time, Padraig Fogarty landed a monstrous forty-five before Stephen O’Hanlon clipped over from a narrow angle to put two between them.
Fogarty was deployed to the edge of the square as his side went in search of a major to save their season.
These efforts were in vein as Liam Rafferty claimed the breaking ball to confirm the win as both sides were reduced to 14 as Daniel McKinless and James Kelly saw red for off the ball incidents.
The full time whistle would sound soon after confirming a return for the semi-finals for the teacher training college, their first since 2017 when they went on to claim the famous crown.
Another mammoth battle is ahead of the 2017 winners as they face the winners of the Dublin derby, DCU Vs UCD next Saturday in Mallow, Cork.
Speaking after the game, St.Mary’s manager, Gavin McGilly was proud of the battling credentials of his side when the going gets tough.
“It was always going to be a huge battle here today once again but, that is just Sigerson Cup football, it’s a big battle every day. Thankfully, our boys they enjoy that sort of pressure in the last ten minutes of a game and they were able to grind out a win once again there today. It’s a great sign that they can just keep their heads and play smart football and get themselves over the line,” McGilly told the Irish Examiner.
To be straight, we just asked the players to go out and giving everything they have of themselves and that is all we can ask of them, that is all you can ask of any team. We believe in those lads and we trust them fully.
The thing that we preach is that you just go out and play the game, there is no pressure on you here, you just go and enjoy your football and you play right to the last minute of the game and I think that evident in the last two or three games.
You encourage the lads to play football, they are all very good footballers in their own right, you have to trust your team and you have to trust your players. You let the players do it because once they are on the pitch it is up to them.
A lot of the teams are like for like in terms of fitness so, I wouldn’t say it was down to fitness, but I think it is more down to confidence. The more you play in games like this the more confident you become. They have the tools to win a game and now we just move forward, whoever it is the next day, we are looking forward to it.”
St.Mary’s Scorers: S McGuigan (0-5 3f), S McConville (0-3 1f), C Byrne (0-2), L Rafferty, L Devlin, J Óg Burns, N Toner, R Coleman (0-1) each.
Maynooth Scorers: P Fogarty (0-6 4f), S O’Hanlon (0-3), J Hyland (0-2 2f), J Gibbons, K Bierne (0-1) each.
St.Mary’s: M Reid (Bryansford), L Rafferty (Galbally), C Dillon (Crossmaglen), M Rooney (Kilcoo), C Byrne (Eglish), R McCusker (Dromore), A Duffy (Silverbridge), L Devlin (Clan Na Ban), J Óg Burns (Silverbridge), S McConville (Clonduff), S McGuigan (Slaughtneil), A Boylan (Dromintee), N Toner (Lavey), R Coleman (Moy), C McKinney (Kilevay) Subs: R McSherry (Whitecross) for C McKinney (44), D McKinless (Ballinderry) for M Rooney (50).
Maynooth: N Carrie (Hunterstown Rovers), N O’Sullivan (Maynooth) J Kelly (St.Joseph’s), M Hyland (Athy), D Courtney (Kilcock), J Gibbons (Kilcock), E Maloney (Drom&Inch), E Devine (Na Fianna), D Lyons (St.James’), R O’Giollain (Maynooth), N O’Donnell (St.Eunan’s), S Comford (Round Towers), P Fogarty (Ballyteague), J Hyland (Ballyteague). Subs: K Bierne (Mohill) for D Lyons (HT), K McMenamin (Carrickmacross) for S Comford (44), D Malone (Raheens) for R O’Giollain (54).
Referee: P Fallon (Armagh)