The Loreto McLarnon Cup squad pictured before Wednesday's win over St Louis.
McLARNON CUP (U18.5 'B' FOOTBALL)
Loreto Coleraine 5-20
St Louis Ballymena 0-11
A well-drilled and free-scoring Loreto team blitzed 14-man St Louis on their way to a facile win at Owenbeg on Wednesday afternoon.
It was a result and a performance Sean Murtagh's charges have been threatening. They pushed St Pius all the way, until Darragh Wade's late goal, in their first game before coming a cropper to a late Cahir McMonagle point in a high-scoring classic with St Columb's.
The win ensures Loreto will finish third in the group, with a possible play-off against St Malachy's Castlewellan and on this form, they have the tools to give the McLarnon Cup a proper rattle.
Their play-off clash will be a step up from a St Louis side who failed to win a game, but with all six forwards on the scoresheet and 5-16 from play, it will give them confidence as they embark on their preparations for after Christmas.
Dara Mooney wore number 14 but like centre-forward Odhran McLarnon, they pulled far and wide to create space. Up front Conn Kilmartin and Ben Dillon's runs complimented each other, with the latter scoring 2-3 on top of the 3-3 totted up by younger brother Joe for the school's U14.5 team earlier in the week.
Loreto had a hardworking midfield duo of Cillian Calvert and Kosta Papachristopolous. Behind them, Eoin McKeever got on the overlap from wing back and ever-cool goalkeeper Leo Passmore used his height to swat away a couple of stray high balls that dropped in at crossbar height.
Ben Dillon wasted little time to notch the first score of the game, followed by an Odhran McLarnon point on the run. Aidan Scullion replied with a St Louis free and they could've levelled the game but Ryan McQuillan's shot tailed to the left of the posts.
In the next attack, Loreto crafted their first goal. It came from a measured Passmore kick-out and ended with Kilmartin feeding Dillon who made no mistake from close range.
A pinpoint Cillian Calvert pass let to a Mooney point. This was a hallmark of Loreto's kicking game that made full use of the pitch width.
A sweeping move involving Calvert, Mooney and McLarnon finished off with a Michael Óg McKeown point, as Loreto cut through St Louis' defence at will.
When a Mooney free struck the post, Dillon gathered the rebound to score his second goal of the game. He added two points with Lorcan McMullen getting in on the act.
Peadar Lagan dismissed Ballymena's Colla McDonnell for a kick but they finished the half with points McQuillan, Scullion and Ronan McKillop, cutting the defeficit to 2-8 to 0-6 at the break.
Loreto turned on the style early in the second-half, putting the game well out of reach with six points in as many minutes. Four came from the boot of Dara Mooney while Conn Kilmartin burrowed though the St Louis rearguard to pop over a second point of the day.
St Louis captain Ruairi Hagan got forward to kick two scores but Loreto were relentless and when Ben Dillon setup substitute Cathal Bradley, the Glenullin man slotted home a third Coleraine goal.
Lorcan McMullen had a shot well saved by St Louis goalkeeper Jude Scullion but Loreto kept coming in waves in the closing stages. McMullen and McLarnon added two take goals as they ruthlessly rounded off a 24 point win.
Loreto: Leo Passmore, Cathair McCloskey, Charlie Dempsey, Eoghan Gormley, Eoin McKeever, Connor Mullan, Emmet Morrison, Cillian Calvert, Kosta Papachristopolous, Lorcan McMullen (1-2), Odhran McLarnon (1-4), Michael Óg McKeown (0-1), Ben Dillon (2-3), Dara Mooney (0-7, 4f), Conn Kilmartin (0-2).
Subs: Ronan Close, Fionn Calvert, Cathal Bradley (1-1), Sean Scullion, Conor McAleese, Oran Walton, Joshua Mullan.
St Louis: Jude Scullion, Conall Killough, Patrick Ferris, Sean Higgins, Ruairi Hagan (0-2), Daragh Donaghy, Oisin Connolly, Daniel Nicholl, Patrick Duggan, Ronan McKillop (0-2), Ryan McQuillan (0-2f), Conor Crossey, Aidan Scullion (0-5, 3f), Callum Higgins, Colla McDonnell.
Subs: Oliver McAtamney, Colm Kennedy, Ryan McCartney, Rory McCluskey, Michael Read, Jake White.
Ref: Peadar Lagan (Glen).
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