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Armagh side claim All-Ireland Schools title in third year of existence

It was a day to remember for St Ronan’s College, Lurgan.

St. Ronan's Jamie Haughey lifts the trophy.
St. Ronan's Jamie Haughey lifts the trophy.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

All-Ireland Schools Senior ‘A’ Final

Rice College, Westport 1-9
St Ronan’s College, Lurgan 1-10

Mike Kelly reports from Croke Park

IN JUST THEIR third year of existence St Ronan’s, Lurgan, claimed Hogan Cup honours with a dramatic one-point win over Rice College, Westport, at Croke Park today.

The Armagh school had to weather three late attacks from Rice College, none of which yielded the score that would have brought the game to extra-time.

A 13-yard free and the final kick of the game from Rice’s captain Pat Lambert swung the wrong side of the posts in the final five minutes and Lurgan were able to hold on and collect their first-ever Hogan Cup.

A point from Oisin Smyth in the 52nd minute, which he hit off the outside of his boot from in front of the Hogan Stand, proved to be the winner in a game of tight margins.

St Ronan’s set the early pace, dominating the opening five minutes, but only had one point from Smyth to show for an extended period inside the Rice College half.

The Westport side took advantage of their first foray forward, however, when a 45 from Jack Carney fell short and was fisted into the net by Keith Joyce. Stephen Loftus and Smyth would trade points a minute later to leave the Mayo side two ahead on 10 minutes.

Lurgan took the lead again with three unanswered points from Eoin McConville, who had an exceptional day with frees off the ground, before Joyce hit a Ciaran McDonald-esque score to level matters again.

Ronan’s could have hit the net twice, but Westport keeper Cian Kenedy pulled off two fantastic saves from Rioghan Meehan and Ruairi McConville to keep his side in the game.

At this stage, Ronan’s were finding gaps in the Westport school’s defence, but not exploiting them.

Both sides added further points before the break, as Rice College led by two, 1-5 to six points, at half-time.

Loftus and Smyth traded scores in the first minute of the second period, but on 37 minutes, Ronan’s passed up a gilt-edged chance to take the lead.

Jack Lenehan found himself bearing through on goal in a three-on-two situation, but his powerful shot zipped wide of the upright and Westport were left off the hook.

Rice College’s relief would only last a minute, however, as the games most important score arrived on 38 minutes. The excellent Leo Monteiro broke through the opposition’s rearguard, his pass saw Smyth’s shot blocked but Tiernan Kelly was the quickest to react and despite falling to the ground, the midfielder managed to squeeze the ball under Kennedy and over the goal line. That effort put Lurgan into a one-point lead and with scores at a premium.

Rice did edge ahead once again by the 46th minute through scores from Loftus and Mark Moran, but that would prove to be their lot for the day.

Adam Loughran and Smyth’s excellent effort saw Ronan’s over the line amid a nervy finish.

Rice College: 1. Cian Kennedy (Westport) 2. Luke Dawson (Westport) 3. Rory Brickenden (Westport) 4. Ray Walsh (Westport) 5. Jack Carney (Kilmeena) 6. Eoghan McLaughlin (Westport) 7. Michael Brady (Westport) 17. Fintan McManamon (Burrishoole) 9. Patrick Chambers (Burrishoole) 10. Keith Joyce (Kilmeena) (1-1) 11. Mark Moran (Westport) (0-2) 12. Luke Tunney (Westport) 13. Stephen Loftus (Westport) (0-4f) 14. Patrick Lambert (Westport) (0-2,1f)15. Cillian Heaney (Westport)

Subs Used: 19. Conor Calvey (Westport) 20. John McGlynn (Kilmeena)

St. Ronan’s: 1. Luke Mulholland (St. Mary’s Aghagallen) 2. Eoin McCluskey (Eire Og) 3. Aidan Mulholland (St. Mary’s Aghagallen) 4. Jack Haddock (Clann Eireann) 5. Aaron McCreanor (Clan na Gael) 6. Jamie Lamont (St. Mary’s Aghagallen) 7. Jamie Haughey (Wolfe Tone) 8. Jack Lenehan (St. Mary’s Aghagallen), 9. Tiernan Kelly (Clann Eireann) (1-0) 10. Oisin Smyth (Sarsfields) (0-4) 11. Adam Loughran (St. Mary’s Aghagallen) (0-2) Rioghan Meehan (Clann Eireann) (0-1) 13. Ruairi McConville (Clann Eireann) 14. Leo Monteiro (Tir na nOg) 15. Eoin McConville (St. Paul’s Lurgan) (0-3,2 45, 1f)

Subs Used: 21. Marc McAfee (St. Mary’s Aghagallen) 17. Josh Megoran (Wolfe Tone)

Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare)

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Michael Kelly

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