Scoil Mhuire: 2-6 (18)

Scoil Lorcain: 5-6 (27)

The crunch match to decide the destination of this year’s Junior league was held in Glenaulin Park, Palmerston on Tuesday last. Both teams came into the match in upbeat form as both remained unbeaten in all their previous league matches. Confidence was high in the Scoil Mhuire camp as a first Junior league championship in many years was tantalisingly close.

However, it was Scoil Lorcain, playing with the wind and the hill, that made the better start and they dominated possession in the opening five minutes, clocking up a goal and a point to boot. Scoil Mhuire had the odd attack and were unlucky not to open their account when Brendan Ruddy’s goal bound shot dipped a little early and landed in their goalkeeper’s arms. However, Charlie Keher gave us something to cheer when he kicked over a great point from a good distance out. Scoil Lorcain came at us again in waves and just seemed to be first to every ball and scored from nearly every shot they took, clocking up two more points and two more goals without reply.

Luke Finnerty kept us in the match with a wonderful solo goal from the left hand corner of the pitch and Charlie booted over his second point but Lorcain’s finished as they started scoring another goal and point to lead 4-4 (20) to 1-2 (7) at half time. It looked as if Scoil Mhuire were about to suffer a huge loss but the team had other ideas.

Scoil Mhuire immediately began to take the game to Lorcain and Charlie Keher scored a great point in the first minute of play to give us some heart. Cian Buckley, who ran his heart out all game, got some reward for his efforts with another great point two minutes later. Scoil Lorcain came right back at us and scored two points of their own in quick succession before Scoil Mhuire began to dominate and lay siege on their goal. Terrific defending and quick passing out of defence to our midfield was a catalyst for our revival as Ishaan Rawat, Dean White and Philip Kane began to dominate their positions. Charlie Keher scored another point as did Cian Buckley and Charlie then grabbed an absolute wonder goal to give us a real fighting chance.

However our luck began to dry up as two shots went the wrong side of the post by a whisker from substitutes Charlie Caseley and Sean Nulty. Cian Buckley hit the crossbar with another belter and we couldn’t make the rebound count. In fact, Scoil Lorcain managed one of their rare attacks from our piece of misfortune and got a goal and the final score of the match. Mark Gormley, Cian Hyland and Brendan Ruddy all had late chances but couldn’t quite make them count and in the end we ran out of time.

We had come back strongly and actually won the second half by 11-7. However this was not enough as Scoil Lorcain celebrated their win with shouts of ‘champ-i-o-nes”. The lads put in a tremendous performance on the back of many excellent performances. Watch out for them in next year’s senior championship!