O’Doherty inspires Pat’s triumph

A MAGNIFICENT second-half goal from Patrick O’Doherty proved the catalyst for St. Pat’s, Dungannon’s victory in this All-Ireland Colleges SFC A final at Portlaoise on Saturday.

Doherty’s strike after 42 minutes came as St. Brendan’s had taken a five point lead following a goal by Chris O’Leary eight minutes earlier.

There appeared to be little danger when the unmarked O’Doherty collected a cross field pass by David Lavery. However the Pats winger went on a mazy run and beat three defenders before slamming home a wonder goal which gave his side the momentum to land their second Hogan Cup.

The McRory Cup winners won the toss and elected to play against a strong wind in the opening half. They matched the Kerry side score for score to be level three times in that opening half and were just two adrift at the break (0-5 to 0-3). Backed by the wind, St. Pat’s increased the pressure with a Tiarnan O’Hagan point, but Brendan’s hit back for a point by Jamie O’Donoghue before Cian Tobin set up O’Leary for a goal that put five points between them.

However the Ulster champions were having the better of the outfield exchanges and began to take charge. It took an excellent save by Brendan’s ‘keeper Brian Kelly to deny a goal and soon the pressure told with O’Doherty’s wonder strike as he punished poor defending in the Kerry ranks.

That goal was the perfect fillip for St. Pat’s and playing some magnificent football, they took a one point lead with 10 minutes remaining.

Jamie O’Donoghue levelled this splendid contest for the fifth time with a point from a free, but it was all St. Pat’s from there to the finish.

Only a superb interception by Brian Kelly denied David Lavery a goal before the Dungannon Academy finished with a brace of points to ensure the Hogan Cup remains in Ulster for another year.

St. Pat’s coach Peter Herron was understandably thrilled with the result.

Said Herron: “This win means the world to St. Pat’s. We lost the 2004 final to St. Pat’s Navan and that hurt. We were determined that there was going to be no repeat of that. We had seen St. Brendan’s, with whom we have built up a splendid relationship, in their semi-final against St. Jarlath’s. The Galway college was supposed to be the team to beat but Brendan’s made them look a very ordinary side. We knew we had to be at our very best to have any chance. To beat a school with the reputation and history of St. Brendan's mean’s the world to us.

“We set the template for this victory in the McRory Cup final. We were six points down in that game and put in a storming finish to win by two.

“We didn’t panic when we fell five behind. I knew going into the game that we had the players to win it if we fell behind. Defensively I thought we were magnificent and of course Patrick O’Doherty’s goal was something special. It was worthy of winning any All-Ireland final.”

Brendan’s mentor Paul Galvin felt the losers couldn’t cope with the intensity of the St. Pat’s challenge.

“It looked to be going our way after Chris O’Leary’s goal, but they came back, turned us over on a couple of occasions which resulted in scores. Also we found it very difficult to cope with the pressure they applied. It was a typical northern performance and our lads struggled to match their intensity. Unfortunately for us some of our big name players failed to deliver. Maybe it was the tension of the occasion but it’s very disappointing having played so well throughout the championship, not to reach that level when it mattered most.”

Scorers for St. Pat’s: P. O’Doherty 1-1; D. Thornton 0-3 (0-2 frees); T. O’Hagan 0-2; S. Murphy, D. Lavery, N. McKenna (free) 0-1 each.

Scorers for St. Brendan’s: C. O’Leary 1-1; J. O’Donoghue 0-3 (0-1 free); C. Tobin (0-1 free) 0-2; S. O’Neill 0-1.

ST. PATRICK’S: N. Morgan; B. Kelly, L. O’Neill, J. Loughran; R. Pickering, G. Teague, D. Toner; N. McKenna, D. Lavery; S. Murphy, T. O’Hagan, P. O’Doherty; M. McLernan, D. Thornton, C. Gervin.

Subs: O. MacIomhair for McLernan; J. Grimley for Kelly.

ST. BRENDAN’S: B. Kelly; F. Fitzgerald, J. Lyne, J. O’Mahony; D. O’Sullivan, P. O’Connor, B. Russell; J. O’Sullivan, J. Coffey; A. Courtney, J. O’Donoghue, P. O’Connor; S. O’Neill, C. Tobin, C. O’Leary.

Subs: E. O’Mahony for D. O’Sullivan; D. Murphy for Courtney; K. Regan for O’Connor; A. O’Sullivan for J. O’Sullivan.

Referee: G. McCormack (Dublin).

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