Reilly spot-on as Dundalk fly flag for Louth in royal style
DUNDALK COLLEGES 2-8
ST PATRICK'S CS 0-12
A LouthH team eventually claimed provincial honours against Meath opposition when Dundalk Colleges won the provincial crown for only the second time at Pairc Tailteann, Navan, on Saturday.
Comprising of four schools from Dundalk, they joined forces in 2002 and won their first title that same year, when one of the stars was current Louth midfielder and All Star Paddy Keenan.
The winners had to endure some anxious moments late on in an exciting encounter as St Pat's went in search of a match-winning goal.
However, Dundalk Colleges' defence held firm under severe pressure and they richly deserved their win after dominating for long periods, despite being unable to shake off their tenacious opponents at any stage.
Yet, they were also denied another goal in added-time when goalkeeper Darren Breen just got a hand to Cathal Smyth's goal-bound shot.
The score that decided the issue was a penalty goal from midfielder and captain Patrick Reilly 10 minutes from the end, following a controversial call by Dublin referee Gary McCormack.
St Pat's wing-back Ruairi O Coileain seemed to have made an excellent tackle to dispossess Shane Thornton, but the referee awarded the penalty.
Afterwards, St Pat's manager Colm O'Rourke expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision.
"I think it was pretty obvious to everyone in the whole ground except the referee that it was a brilliant tackle, a perfectly executed tackle, what you would train lads to do," O'Rourke said.
That goal left it 2-8 to 0-10 and although they failed to add to their tally after that, Dundalk defended extremely well in the closing stages.
With Ciaran Byrne a constant menace in attack, the Dundalk outfit notched the opening three points of the game and led 0-6 to 0-3 approaching half-time.
Desperate defending denied St Pat's a goal on 28 minutes before two converted frees by Cathal Smyth left the minimum between the sides at the break.
St Pat's started the second half at a terrific pace and points from the impressive Alan Forde, Conor Sheridan and Paddy Kennelly had them ahead 0-8 to 0-6 by the 36th minute.
The home side were well in control at that stage but were then rocked by a goal, scored by Dundalk substitute Shane Thornton.
The winners never relinquished the lead after that, with Byrne and wing-back John Thornton scoring crucial points.
SCORERS -- Dundalk Colleges: P Reilly 1-1 (1-0 pen), C Byrne 0-3, S Thornton 1-0, A Sharkey 0-2 (1f), J Thornton, C Doyle 0-1 each. St Patrick's CS: C Smyth 0-6 (5f), A Forde 0-3, P Kennelly, D Regan, C Sheridan 0-1 each.
DUNDALK COLLEGES -- D Breen; K Lenehan, D Smith, R Williams; J Thornton, D McMahon, S McAuley; P Reilly, J Stewart; K Hearty, A Sharkey, C Doyle; C Byrne, C Ryan, C McKeever. Subs: S Thornton for Ryan (21), C McMenamin for Williams (h-t), Ryan for Hearty (41), R Quigley for Sharkey (59), A Murray for Reilly (60).
ST PATRICK'S -- R Burlingham; N Coughlan, O Fitzpatrick, E Murtagh; R O Coileain, F McEntee, C Shaw; B Dardis, F Ward; C McGrane, A Forde, P Kennelly; N O'Brien, C Smyth, C Fitzsimons. Subs: C Sheridan for McGrane (34), G Power for Coughlan (40), D Regan for O'Brien (45), S Carty for Kennelly (51).
REF -- G McCormack (Dublin).