Loreto College - Coleraine, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland
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17/05/2019 LORETO CLINCH IRISH NEWS CUP DECIDER

Danske Bank Irish News Cup final Loreto Coleraine 10-19 Rathmore Belfast 13-8 (AET)

THE Irish News aims to entertain its readers, and yesterday’s Danske Bank Irish News Cup final certainly provided plenty of entertainment with an end to end game of football resulting in 23 goals, 27 points, extra time and a single point victory for Loreto Coleraine.

But spare a thought for an excellent effort from Rathmore Grammar for whom goal machine Michael Morgan was once again in red hot form.

The Glenavy man, who had scored nine goals in the semi-final, added another nine in the final.

At the other end of the field, Leon Boyd was on song for Loreto but he had more support with fellow attacker Niall Clyde adding 3-4 to the tally.

Even when Sean Murtagh looked to his bench for inspiration Niall McLaughlin and Thomas McCloskey (2) added goals in what was an exhilerating game of football.

In an age when blanket defences dominate the football landscape, both these sides served up a fitting reflection of all that is good about underage football.

It was a pity there had to be a loser, but Loreto’s greater team-play saw them prevail.

Joe Dillon dictated much of the early Loreto play and he played Boyd in for the game’s first goal, helping them into a 1-4 to 0-0 lead.

Immediately Morgan struck back with a fine individual goal to get Rathmore off the mark.

There was a better balance to Loreto’s play but they conceded a second Morgan goal midway through the opening half and his side went on to dominate the rest of the half. Lughaidh Mallon added a third goal for the Belfast school before Morgan completed his hat-trick in the 17th minute. Amazingly Loreto still held a 2-8 to 4-0 lead. But a fourth Morgan goal and a Rory McErlean point levelled the game, 2-10 to 5-1 with half-time approaching.

A second Mallon goal edged Rathmore ahead at the turnover.

In comparison to the rest of the game, the third quarter was quiet but it was Loreto who gradually turned the screw and led 2-15 to 6-3.

Two Willie John Bradley goals looked to have sealed the game for an impressive Loreto side until the brilliant Morgan despatched three penalties in a dramatic final quarter to force extra time, 6-16 to 10-4.

Two goals from Niall Clyde put Loreto seven points ahead after the first period of extra-time.

When Niall McLaughlin hit Loreto’s ninth goal seconds into the second-half, the game looked to be over.

But Morgan had other ideas and scored his ninth of the day, before setting up Rory McErlean for a goal and the result was back in the balance.

McErlean popped over a free to reduce the gap to two points but Loreto held on for victory.

Loreto: P Doherty; R McNicholl, C McGarry, M Cunningham; O Bradley, W Bradley (2-0), J McNicholl; M Smyth, JF Burns (0-1); E Kilmartin, J Dillon (0-8, 6f), M Johnston; N Clyde (3-4), L Boyd (1-6), T Kearney (1-0).

Subs: R Dempsey, N McLaughlin (1-0), C Black, T McCloskey (2-0), C McCool, S Boorman, C McLaughlin, C Rafferty, C Doherty.

Rathmore: S Doyle; O Conlon, O Arthurs, J Higgins; C Mickleburgh, S Ferris, S McCarthy; R McErlean (1-4, 2f), L Mallon (2-0); F Blaney, R Smyth (1-0), R Hamill (0-1); G Cowan, M Morgan (9-1, 3pens), S Lavery.

Subs: L Donnelly, M O’Reilly, J Hewitt, S Johnston, T Hale, J McIvor, O Morgan, C Broderick, T Lloyd, Tomas Clarke.

Ref: B Cassidy (Derry).

Match report:  Ulster Schools GAA Website