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St Mary's Magherafelt book quarter-final spot in MacRory Cup

Late McKenna free and McKinney goalkeeping heroics prove the difference for 'Convent'

St Mary's Magherafelt book quarter-final spot in MacRory Cup

The St Mary's Magherafelt team pictured before Wednesday's win in Clones.

MacRORY CUP ROUND 2 (U19 A FOOTBALL)


St Mary's Magherafelt..........2-12
St Macartan's Monaghan......0-13
AET


St Mary's Magherafelt upset the odds to book their place in the last eight of the MacRory Cup, following their extra-time win over St Macartan's Monaghan at Clones on Wednesday afternoon.

The 'Convent', winners in 2017, failed to win a game in this season's group stages but a late pressure kick from Ronan McKenna forced Wednesday's tie to extra-time.

Seconds before the Ballinascreen man's dramatic equaliser, Monaghan had a chance to win the game. Leading by a point, Tiernan Kierans opted to go for goal but goalkeeper Peter McKinney's wonder save kept Magherafelt in the the game.

It was the last of three saves, all at vital times, from the Kilrea stopper in a man of the match performance.

In injury time, Magherafelt went on to control the game. Conhuir Johnston put them ahead for the first time since the 16th minute, followed by a McKenna free to open a two point gap that St Macartan's couldn't break.  After unselfish work from Dan Higgins, he put substitute Callum Ormsby in for a goal to clinch game.

Lochlainn Power was now back at full-forward and the 'Sem' reverted back to their long ball approach but with Johnny McErlain back as sweeper and Matthew McNeill defending strongly, Magherafelt prevailed to a meeting with St Patrick's Dungannon, who had scouts in the stand watching.

Monaghan had the slight breeze early in the game and went route one but found Magherafelt's defence difficult to crack.

Two Niall McKenna points put the home side ahead before Eunan McElhennon's sliced effort eased Magherafelt into the game. Conleth Mallon, who handled a lot of ball over the match, levelled before a Dan Higgins goal put Magherafelt into a 16th minute lead.

Monaghan finished the half with a flourish and led 0-7 to 1-2 at the break, thanks to points from McKenna, Michael Hamill and Dylan Balantine.

St Mary's rode their luck and needed a save from McKinney's trailing leg to prevent a certain Niall McKenna goal.

Magherafelt battled well in the second-half, with Aidan McCluskey and sweeper Eoin McEvoy dictating the game.

POLL - Who was man of the match.  Vote here...

Points from Kevin McNicholl and Aidan McCloskey levelled the game in the 49th minute, 1-7 to 0-10

Conor McCooey and Michael Hamill put the Farney side back into the lead and they looked home and dry. But Magherafelt refused to budge.

Aidan McCluskey cut the gap to a single point before McKinney's wonder save and McKenna's late free brought the game to extra-time.

The Magherafelt control was the hallmark of the additional  20 minutes before Ormsby hammered to the roof of the net to seal the deal.

MAGHERAFELT: Peter McKinney; Finn Diamond, Matthew McNeill, Shea McSorley; Eoin McEvoy (0-1); Conleth Mallon (0-1), Johnny McErlain, Aidan McCluskey (0-2); Eunan Quinn, Dan Higgins (1-1); Eunan McElhennon (0-1), Ronan McKenna (0-4, 3f, 1m), Sean Duffin; Conhuir Johnston (0-1), Kevin McNicholl (0-1).

SUBS: Ryan McEldowney for E Quinn (47), Callum Ormsby (1-0) for S Duffin (55), Caolan Crozier for K McNicholl (70), Joe McVey for R McKenna (72), Conor Fowley for C Mallon (79).

YELLOW CARDS: E McElhennon (30), J McErlain (50).

MONAHGAN: Darragh Croarkin; Michael Meehan, Ronan Boyle, Dean Doherty; Darragh Treanor, Chrissy Flood, Alistair Stewart; Dylan Ballantine (0-1), Karl Gallagher (0-1); Cameron Liddle, Ben Ryan (0-1 '45'), Conor McCooey (0-2); Michael Hamill (0-2), Lochlainn Power, Niall McKenna (0-6, 3f)

SUBS: Tiernan Kierans for B Ryan (41), Aodhan Brennan for C Liddle (45), Eoghan McGinnity for A Stewart (Start ET), Killian McKenna for C Flood (70), Tristian Moyna for D Treanor (79).

YELLOW CARDS: M Hamill (28), D Balentine (35), A Stewart (40, 64), C Flood (49), L Power (67).
RED CARD: N McKenna (80).

REF: James Lewis (Fermanagh).

Quarter-Finals (12-16 February)
St Patrick's Maghera v Enniskillen/Cookstown
St Patrick's Dungannon v St Mary's Magherafelt
Omagh CBS v Omagh/Abbey
St Colman's Newry v St Eunan's/Carrickmacross

More coverage in Tuesday's County Derry Post.

 - ALSO McKenna free earns first win of the season for St Mary's.  Click here....

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