St Patrick’s Maghera       7-5
St Louis Ballymena          1-8

Michael McMullan
Reports from Ahoghill

St Patrick’s Maghera tore up the form book to retain their Gallagher Cup title in style at Ahoghill on Tuesday afternoon.

St Louis came into the game as favourites but two early Eamon Cassidy goals, a greater strength all over the pitch and a stellar defensive display were the key factors.

Ronan McCollum was the Ballymena star in their semi-final hammering of Cross and Passion Ballycastle but Adam McLaughlin held him scoreless from play, while also having an impact of much of Maghera’s play.

Danny McDermott dropped in as a sweeper with Fionn McEldowney once again rising to the challenge, with an exhibition of defending.

Cassidy hit the net twice in the opening four minutes and with the aid of slight breeze Maghera were off to the best possible start.

A free from Cassidy and two Niall Barton points from play had the Derry men in total control.

St Louis had goalkeeper McQuillan to thank for denying Cassidy a third goal and McCollum notched two frees to get them off the mark.

With five minutes to half-time Jack McGroarty had a shot saved by McQuillan but the ball wasn’t cleared and Jack Dunne’s goal gave Maghera a deserved 3-3 to 0-2 interval lead.

Ten minutes into the second-half a Dunne rocket to the top corner put St Patrick’s well on their way to glory.

A long range free from captain Eoin Scullion ended up in the back for the St Louis net for a fifth goal.

Cassidy completed his hat-trick with a fortunate goal when McQuillan failed to clear a high ball from Jack Dunne.

Full-forward Barton scored Maghera’s final goal of the game, before Ronan McCollum drilled a free to the top corner of the net for a St Louis consolation goal.

MATCH STATS:

St Patrick’s: Fintan O’Connell; Tiernan McCormick, Eoin Scullion (1-0), Fionn McEldowney; Danny McDermott; Dara McGurk, Adam McLaughlin, Aimon Duffin; Jack McGroarty, Joseph McCullough; Matthew Mullan, Jack Dunne (2-0), Conall Bradley; Niall Barton (1-3), Eamon Cassidy (3-2, 1f).
Subs: Ryan McNicholl for C Bradley (56), Conlan O’Kane for J McCullough (56)

St Louis: Ciaran McQuillan; Conor Laverty, Pearse Patterson; Tony McCann; Cahair Gormley, Aodhan McGarry, Conan McAuley; Dara Patterson, Kevin O’Boyle; Tom McFerran, Oisin McCamphill, Ronan McCollum (1-8f); Darra Martin, Jack McCloskey, TP McGurk.
Subs: Sean Moore for T McCann (HT), Tyrone Mitchell for TP McGurk (36).

Ref: Brendan Toland (Lámh Dhearg)

Extended coverage the photos in next Tuesday's County Derry Post.

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