Connolly's cool head seals miracle victory
ST BENILDUS 3-09
SALESIAN CELBRIDGE 2-11
Late goals from substitute Paul Connolly (two) and midfielder David Byrne proved pivotal yesterday as St Benildus College secured back-to-back titles after the most remarkable of comebacks.
Benildus opened up a three-point lead after 25 minutes, but Salesians ended the half in spectacular fashion, when three points were followed by a goal in stoppage time from centre-forward Shane Ryan, leaving the Kildare school 1-5 to 0-5 ahead at the mid-way stage.
After a second goal from Ronan Byrne with ten minutes remaining, they opened up a seemingly insurmountable 2-11 to 0-9 lead. And that was how the score remained until the final minute of normal time when Connolly kicked a loose ball to the net, before David Byrne brilliantly finished to the top corner in the first minute of injury-time.
The momentum was now with Benildus, and, incredibly, Connolly sealed the victory with a third goal from the spot.
Scorers -- St Benildus : P Connolly 2-1 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), S Cunningham 0-6 (2f), D Byrne 1-1 (0-1f), E Allen 0-1. Salesian: R Byrne 1-5, S O'Flynn 0-3, S Ryan 1-0, P Brophy 0-2 (1f), C Mooney 0-1 each.
St Benildus -- S Murtagh; A Kennedy, C Dolan, E Murphy; C Conway, R McGowan, S Mulvanney; D Byrne, D Butler; E Coffey, N Hanley, B Reilly; D Coen, B Horan, S Cunningham. Subs: P Connolly for Coen (h-t), E Allen for Reilly (34), M Mannion for Hanley (52).
Salesian -- S Holmes; B Nolan, E Conaty, B Flynn; T Doolin, D Corcoran, R Feehan; P Brophy, J Doran; C Mooney, S Ryan, T McGoldrick; R Byrne, S O'Flynn, J Costello. Subs: R Harding for Ryan (51), R Cheasty for McGoldrick (51), S Moore for Flynn (58).
Ref -- D Feeney (Dublin)