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Dublin’s St Benildus make history with first Leinster Colleges crown

Two early goals proved crucial as the Stillorgan side saw off the challenge of Marist College.

Image: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

St Benildus College 2-7

Marist College 1-6

GOALS IN THE first quarter by Paddy Flaherty and Joe Rafferty proved pivotal as St Benildus College overcame Marist College by four points in their Leinster Colleges Senior ‘A’ Football Championship final in O’Connor Park this afternoon.

It proved a historic day for the Stillorgan outfit who claimed their first provincial title and they were full merit for the victory as they assumed control from the opening whistle.

The Dublin school started on the front foot with Rafferty opening the scoring in the 6th minute before Marist restored parity three minutes later through an excellent score by full-forward Brian Derwin.

However, a gap opened up in the 11th-minute as a fine team move culminated in Flaherty firing an unerring finish across Conor Devaney from eight yards to push his side three points clear.

Although Derwin landed a free soon after, matters deteriorated for the Athlone school as Rafferty got a feint touch on a Callum Pearson free to deflect the ball past a stranded Devaney.

That momentum was maintained with Tom Fox firing over two sublime points and a late free from Tom Keane ensured Benildus a healthy 2-4 to 0-3 interval lead.

Marist were handed a lifeline within nine minutes of the restart when the impressive Daniel Reid was adjudged to have been fouled. And Ryan Gaffey hammered the resultant penalty high past Adam O’Callaghan.

It proved insufficient to launch a comeback however with Benildus retaining possession with a large degree of comfort in the final quarter to confirm a well-merited victory.

Scorers – St Benildus: J Rafferty 1-2, P Flaherty 1-0, T Fox, T Keane (2f) 0-2 each, C Pearson 0-1. Marist College: B Derwin 0-3 (2f), R Gaffey 1-0 (pen), C Reid, C McCormack (f), L Carty 0-1 each.

St Benildus College: 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. Subs: 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. Subs: L Carty for S Dowd (34), M Egan for Mulvihill (44), E Egan for McCormack (55), B Leahy for Nally (59, Black Card).

Referee: Chris Dwyer (Offaly).

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