The winners got off to the best possible start when Oisín Smyth converted a first-minute penalty after Eoin McConville had been fouled. Smyth added a point before the holders responded with scores from Liam Quinn and defender Conal Devlin.
In the 24th minute, Devlin won a Magherafelt penalty which Daniel Bradley converted to put the holders in front. Adam Connolly and McConville exchanged points before Tiarnan McAteer gave St.Mary’s, Magherafelt a slender 1-4 to 1-3 interval advantage.
‘Man of the Match’ Rioghan Meehan had the sides level within 60 seconds of the restart and you just knew that this was a contest that was going right to the wire.
Lurgan keeper Luke Mulholland punched a dangerous situation clear before McConville put the winners in front in the 40th minute from a 13-metre free.
That advantage was short-lived, however, as St Mary’s midfielder Jamie McCann landed a wonderful equaliser as they demonstrated that they weren’t going to give up their title without a fight.
Magherafelt keeper Odhran Lynch made a brilliant save to deny Lurgan substitute Josh Megoran a goal before Meehan edged St.Ronan’s back in front. Bradley levelled matters but within sixty seconds Meehan hoisted the ball high and over the bar.
St.Ronan’s were playing with a fierce hunger at this stage and going into the final ten minutes substitute Marc McAfee left two between the sides.
Devlin fired over a superb score but St.Ronan’s weren’t to be denied as McConville converted a late free and the celebrations at the final whistle demonstrated what it meant to the Armagh school.
L Mulholland, E McCluskey, A Mulholland, J Haddock, A McCreanor, J Lamont, J Haughey, J Lenehan, T Kelly, O Smyth (1-1), A Loughran, R Meehan (0-3), R McConville, L Monteiro, E McConville (0-4, 3f).
J Megoran for R McConville, M McAfee (0-1) for Monteiro
O Lynch, C Doyle, G Lupari, L McElhone, J Crawford, S McErlain, C Devlin (0-2), J McErlain, J McCann (0-1), A Connolly (0-1), T McAteer (0-1), R Keenan, L Quinn (0-1), C Murphy, D Bradley (1-1).
A McCluskey for Keenan, D McAteer for McCann, C O’Neill for Bradley, R Hughes for Connolly Referee: P Faloon, Down.