Magnificent McCann seals deal as ruthless Pat's retain title
St Patrick's 1-14 Sean O'Mahony's 0-9
St Patrick's Day has a habit of popping up twice on the calendar in Louth, and the celebrations kicked off again yesterday as Paddy Keenan hoisted the Joe Ward Cup aloft in Drogheda.
The favourites summoned an emphatic second-half display to shrug off a challenge from first-time finalists Sean O'Mahony's, who ran out of composure and ideas in the face of an onslaught from the reigning champions.
The Leinster Intermediate champions were expected to put it up to their opponents, and they did precisely that in the opening half.
They led twice inside a tense first quarter, with former Everton trainee Ben McLaughlin posing questions to the Pat's defence, tempting Patrick Kirk into a black card on 20 minutes.
With the midfield battle fairly even matched, O'Mahony's looked more dangerous going forward, while Pat's were guilty of some wild shooting early on.
But as the game progressed, Pat's knuckled down and they went in at half-time 0-5 to 0-4 ahead.
They retired to a dressing-room packed with experience and big-game know-how, and they emerged a transformed side after the restart, starving their opponents of possession.
They extended their lead to three points on 40 minutes with a fine score from former county man Ray Finnegan, and they were still three to the good when man of the match Aidan McCann finished off a flowing move with a deft flick over Kevin Brennan.
Even with 12 minutes left on the clock there was no way back for O'Mahony's as Pat's mercilessly killed the game in the final quarter, extending their advantage to eight points.
Accepting the trophy, manager Jim Holland paid tribute to late former player Eamon Carroll, who died in a car accident and whose anniversary Mass was celebrated seven days earlier.
"It is a bit more special because of what happened last year," he said.
"We had that with us all year, and it was about more than the winning of a cup or a medal."
SCORERS - St Patrick's: A McCann 1-2, P Keenan 0-4 (3fs), E O'Connor 0-2, E Breen, R Finnegan, D O'Connor, R Murphy, K White (f), D Lafferty 0-1 each. Sean O'Mahony's: C Finnegan 0-4 (2fs), S Kilcoyne (2fs), B McLaughlin 0-2 each, D Dowling 0-1.
ST PATRICK'S - S Connor; K Toner, D O'Hanlon, P Kirk; R Finnegan, D Finnegan, O Zamboglou; P Keenan, E Breen; A McCann, K White, E Lafferty; D O'Connor, E O'Connor, C Grogan. Subs: R Murphy for Kirk (21 BC), D Lafferty for Grogan (h-t), P Mallon for White (63), S Cumiskey for McCann (60+5).
SEAN O'MAHONY'S - K Brennan; K Murphy, R Byrne, M Clarke; G Mulligan, J O'Brien, K McLaughlin; C Martin, S Brennan; C Finnegan, P Nixon, B McLaughlin; S Fisher, C Crawley, S Kilcoyne. Subs: D Dowling for Fisher (51), J Connolly for Kilcoyne (56), B O'Brien for Mulligan (60).
REF - S Murphy.