There was huge relief for St Patrick’s Banbridge in the last seconds of this exciting Danske Bank Ennis Cup in Tullylish.
Full-forward Michael McGrath fielded a high ball on his own goal-line in the last seconds to ensure his side edged over the line and secured the win.
That attempt at a late equaliser from Lismore fell short, but could easily have slipped into the Banbridge net amid the chaos around their goal – and really extra time or a replay might have been the fairest result after a terrific battle between the two schools.
It was only a second half double salvo from Aaron Devlin that separated the teams. And he had to deliver, for the locals found themselves trailing early doors.
St Patrick’s opened brightly with points from Liam Campbell (2), Peter McClean and James Fegan, all playing on their home pitch, and they led by 0-5 to 0-1 at the end of the opening quarter.
Craig Robinson then burst through for a goal from Lismore. But Banbridge responded within a couple of minutes with a similar score from Campbell.
However, despite a lot of possession, they were to add only one more point before the break.
It gave Lismore the space to edge ahead 2-4 to 1-6, the goal coming in the 22nd minute from the ever-dangerous Kevin McConville.
Aodhran Heenan tied the teams on the re-start, but McConville hit his second goal within a couple of minutes and Lismore seemed to have the wind in their sails.
Banbridge responded by moving full-back Aaron Devlin to midfield and he had a huge impact with two goals and a point over the last 20 minutes.
His second strike close to the end pushed St Patrick’s ahead for the first time since before the break and the game finished in a welter of excitement as the Armagh side battled to get an equalising score.
Best for the winners were Devlin, James Fegan at midfield, Jake Gorman, Aodhran Heenan and Ruairi Andrews while Liam Hughes, Ben McConville, Odhran McMullan and Craig Robinson didn’t deserve to finish on the losing team.
ST PATRICK’S: E Scappatici, R McCrory, A Devlin 2-1, N McCoy, R Andrews, A Mulgrew, B Canavan, J Fegan 0-1, L McClorey capt., J Gorman 0-2, A Heenan 0-2, C McGivern, L Campbell 1-2, M McGrath, P McClean 0-1.
Subs : C McArdle for B Canavan (20), A Convery for N McCoy (ht).
LISMORE: L Mulholland capt., G Basara, S Jackson, O Meehan, K Breen, D McKenna, B McConville, L Hughes 0-2, K McConville 2-0, O Ginesi, S Conway 0-4, O McMullan, C Robinson 1-1, C Larkin, N Sweeney 0-1.
Subs: N Ormsby for K Breen (45), M Alharati for D McKenna (51), A McParland for O Ginesi (55).
Referee : Kevin Faloon