There was a return to Darver last Thursday evening for the second part of Cumann na mBunscol Lú’s autumn programme of finals.
Under lights, the boys and girls from seven schools around Louth descended to stake a claim for county titles ahead of the Halloween break.
The opening match saw the welcome return of Bay Estate to a county final as they faced Mell NS in the final of Division 2 of the Urban schoolboys’ competition. The Dundalk team started the brighter of the two and deservedly led – despite Mell’s profligacy in front of goals – by a point at the break with talisman Harry Rogers leading the charge for Scoil Mhuire na nGael.
Things got even better for the Dundalk side as they flew out of the traps in the second period with a quick-fire goal to pull clear. But the Drogheda side clawed their way back into the game and patiently picked off points with Ruairí Kirkwood, Oisín Daly and Dylan Kierans having found their range after a plethora of wides in the first half.
The Bay Estate goal proved to be their last score of the game as Mell scored some more fine, long-range points to claim Corn Sheán Ó Maoltuile on a final scoreline of 0-10 to 1-2.
In the inaugural Corn Irene Uí Bhraonáin final, the winners of the large, rural girls’ final from Saturday faced the winners of the urban girls’ final.
With Bellurgan missing their captain and rock at the back as well as their agile goalkeeper, it was to be an uphill battle to have their name engraved on the trophy, but player of the match on Saturday, Ruby Hynes, endeavoured to overcome the might of the large Drogheda school as she drove the north-Louth outfit forward at every opportunity. scoring at will.
Unfortunately for them, the wily St Mary’s side had one instruction all game – “go for goals!”
And that they did as, for the second time this week, they took home the silverware without registering a single point. The final score was 8-0 to 4-2.
At the same time, the boys from Tallanstown and Tullyallen once again served up a feast of football in the final of Sciath Mhic Raoise. Their corresponding final in the summer was a frenetic affair with the south Louth team claiming bragging rights on the day.
The roles were reversed this time as the industry of the Tallanstown duo of Dáire Reilly and Nathan Donnelly was at the centre of every good move the mid-Louth team created. On the many occasions that Tullyallen did manage to break the backline of Tallanstown. they encountered a ’keeper that was on top form as net-minder Ollie McGahon thwarted his opponents time after time.
And so, joint captains Oisín Kellett and Aaron Lynch lifted the trophy to level the scores to one apiece between the schools. It is a strong possibility that we’ll see the score finally settled next June in the final of Corn Pheadar Ó Cearnaigh.
The last final of the evening saw a Corn Mhic Ardail final played out without the presence of Monastery, Ardee for the first time in over half a decade as the boys of St Mary’s PPS faced St Oliver Plunkett NS, Blackrock.
The St Mary’s side were strong favourites, but huge credit has to be given to the young Blackrock side who, despite not having the best of first halves, had much of the possession in the second half and were unlucky not to finish the game closer with many gilt-edge chances squandered in front of goal thanks to the pressure by the likes of Eoin McEntee and Dáire Cooney.
And so, the boys of St Mary’s PPS joined the girls as county champions in what was a fantastic week for the Drogheda school.