Forkers to the fore in historic triumph
Maghery 1-13 St Patrick's 0-13
Published 17/10/2016 | 02:30
Maghery strode majestically into the history books when they claimed their first county title in a rousing contest at the Athletic Grounds.
They may have made life hard for themselves on occasions - not least in the last minute when defender Gerard Campbell popped up to prevent a certain goal - but the lough shore side revealed considerable spirit, courage and cohesion in the frenetic closing stages to secure a memorable victory.
For manager Shane McConville, in his first season in charge, yesterday's win provided further vindication of his belief in a squad which he now believes can go from strength to strength.
"I honestly think they can go on from here," he said. "This success will instil further belief in the players and we will now embrace the challenge of the Ulster club championship."
In front of 6,390 fans, they put decades of frustration behind them to come up trumps, and several of there players gave watching Armagh boss Kieran McKeever a nudge.
McConville's men looked much more potent up front in the early stages, with the Forker brothers Aidan (2) and Stefan on target.
In contrast, St Patrick's relied too heavily on Aidan Nugent to convert frees that kept them in contention - by the 14th minute the corner-forward had three points to his name.
Yet they managed to keep their noses in front until Maghery stepped up the pace midway through the half when Steven Fox and Conor Mackle posted fine scores.
But St Patrick's -semi-final conquerors of Crossmaglen - regained their composure and when Nugent whipped over two frees in as many minutes, the south Armagh side began to look more comfortable and led by 0-7 to 0-6 at half-time.
The game, though, swung in Maghery's favour in the 45th minute when Ciaran Higgins touched home a goal, and when they tacked on five more points they effectively suffocated the St Patrick's challenge.
SCORERS - Maghery: A Forker 0-4 (3fs), C Higgins 1-0, S Forker 0-3, G Campbell, S Fox, C Mackle, S Cusack, R Lappin, Seamus Forker 0-1 each. St Patrick's: A Nugent 0-9 (6fs), B McConville, S Hoey, P Casey, M Mackin 0-1 each.
Maghery - J Montgomery; K Nugent, O Lappin, G Campbell; E Scullion, C Higgins, N Forker; J Lavery, B Crealey; S Fox, C Mackle, S Forker; R Lappin, A Forker, S Cusack. Subs: D Lavery for Nugent (h/t), Seamus Forker for Fox (39), Paul Forker for Mackle (50), S Tennyson for N Forker (55), C Forker for Cusack (60).
St Patrick's - J Carragher; S Reel, C Connell, K McCooey; C Connolly, G McCooey, F O'Rourke; B McConville, J Duffy; M Murray, E Casey, S Hoey; P Casey, M Mackin, A Nugent. Subs: P McCreesh for O'Rourke (22), C Nugent for Reel (42), S Conlon for Hoey (51), A Conlon for E Casey (56)
REF - P Hughes (Crossmaglen)