Leinster Colleges SAFC final - St Benildus College (Dublin) 2-7 Marist College (Westmeath) 1-6: Goals in the first quarter by Paddy Flaherty and Joe Rafferty proved pivotal as St Benildus claimed a first provincial title in Saturday’s Leinster Colleges final at O’Connor Park.
For Marist, it was another disappointing decider as they suffered their fourth final defeat but their tally of just three points from open play over the hour undermined their challenge.
The Dublin school started brightly, with Rafferty opening the scoring in the sixth minute before Marist equalised three minutes later through an excellent score by full-forward Brian Derwin. In poor underfoot conditions, Benildus stuck the opening goal in the 11th minute as Flaherty fired home from eight yards with Marist opened up far too easily down the middle.
At the end of the first quarter Rafferty deflected an innocuous looking Callum Pearson free into an empty net, leaving five points between the sides.
That margin was extended as Tom Fox fired over two sublime points and although Derwin replied with a free for Marist, a Tom Keane free approaching the break handed Benildus a healthy 2-4 to 0-3 half-time lead.
Another Keane free upon the restart added to Marist misery but a penalty from Ryan Gaffey, after a foul on the marauding Daniel Reid, offered the Midlanders hope in the 40th minute.
It proved a false dawn despite a glorious point from Corey Reid soon after as Eoin Foley, Fox and Luke Doran impressed as St Benildus ground down the clock, a late Rafferty point confirming their win.
Scorers for St Benildus:
J Rafferty 1-2, P Flaherty 1-0, T Fox, T Keane (2f) 0-2 each, C Pearson 0-1.
Scorers for Marist College:
B Derwin 0-3 (2f), R Gaffey 1-0 (pen), C Reid, C McCormack (f), L Carty 0-1.
A O’Callaghan; A Walsh, L Doran, P O’Reilly; A Bradshaw, D Keogh, S O’Reilly; C Pearson, P Flaherty; D O’Brien, J Rafferty, A Fox; E Foley, T Fox, T Keane.
A Kelly for Keogh (37 Black Card).
MARIST COLLEGE ATHLONE:
C Devaney; D Carroll, E Nally, S Furey; E Mulvihill, J Curley, F Dowd; D Reid, C Reid; R Gaffey, C McCormack, C Mannion; S Dowd, B Derwin, K Rigney.
L Carty for S Dowd (34), M Egan for Mulvihill (44), E Egan for McCormack (55), B Leahy for Nally (59, Black Card).
Chris Dwyer (Offaly)
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved