The old adage ‘goals win games’ was never truer than today when Edmund Rice College (ERC), Belfast defeated St. John’s College, Dromore in the Bearnageeha Cup Ulster Final by a final score of 5-3 to 2-9.
St. John’s started well and by the second minute Callum Welsh had St. John’s on the scoreboard with a well taken score from play. This was followed by points from Colm McCann and Ryan Campbell to leave St. John’s ahead 0-3 to no score.
Edmund Rice continued to pile on the pressure but were prevented from scoring a certain goal by a wonderful stop from Charlie Garrity in the Dromore goals. It wasn’t long, however, until a break away goal was scored by ERC to level the game. Callum Walsh restored the lead in the 20th minute with a 45-metre free. This was followed up by a point from play by Paschal Donnelly.
Just before the half time break ERC had another goal when a long ball played in over the top. So, at halftime St. John’s trailed by a point 0-5 to 2-0.
The second half started brightly for St. John’s and 36 minutes in Callum Hunter rattled the back of the ERC net. However, the lead was short lived as the ERC got a goal of their own minutes later. Paschal Donnelly brought the sides level with a score from play. Things got worse for St. John’s as within a five-minute spell ERC scored 1-2. On 42 minutes Fabian O’Neill who had replaced Michael McCrystal scored a point from play. On 52 minutes Donal McQuaid scored a 20-metre free. St. John’s now trailed by four points. The St. John’s boys rallied and on 54 minutes Paschal Donnelly scored a goal followed by a point on 56 minutes to bring the sides level. The game was in the melting pot with time almost up and St. John’s mid-fielder Nathan Hunter had a great chance to win it for the West Tyrone School but his shot from 30 metres out drifted narrowly wide. From the kickout ERC won a free and on 63 minutes a long ball in found the ERC captain, who evaded two defenders, scored what proved to be the winning goal as this was followed by the full-time whistle.
So not to be for St. John’s but there is no doubt they came close to victory on a day when they dominated possession but conceded too many goals.
There were strong performances from Charlie Garrity who could not be faulted for any of the ERC goals as well as Nathan Hunter at mid-field. Callum Welsh and Paschall Donnelly also excelled in the forward line.