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Johnston denies Mary's

Holders St Colman's survived a scare to book their place in the final on Saturday thanks to an injury-time goal from Ryan Johnston. They were seven points ahead late in the first half, but had to come from behind to deny 14-man St Mary's, Magherafelt, at the Athletic Grounds.

A 1-5 tally from the older of the Johnston brothers, Jerome, helped St Colman's gain early control, and while Aaron Devlin and Conor Kearns struck from frees for St Mary's, the Newry side led by 1-8 to 0-6 at the break.

Wing-back Niall Higgins volleyed home a spectacular goal for St Mary's and despite the straight red card for Paul O'Kane, they went in front when Devlin fired over.

St Colman's got back in front but Kearns levelled again. But St Colman's sealed it in stoppage-time when Johnston blasted home.

SCORERS -- St Colman's: J Johnston 1-7 (5f), R Johnston 1-1, C Mooney 0-3 (1f). St Mary's: N Higgins 1-1, C Kearns (4f), A Devlin (3f) 0-4 each, S Cassidy, A McElhone 0-1 each.

St Colman's -- M McNeice; C Doyle, N Donnelly, R Lively; D O'Brannigan, E Magee, K Haughey; R Johnston, C Gough; T Mulholland, P Casey, C Mooney; S McArdle, J Johnston, T McGreevy. Sub: J Haughey for Mulholland.

St Mary's -- D McCann; M Breen, P Quinn, P O'Kane; N Higgins, F Duffin, B Devlin; C McCann, T O'Brien; P McGuigan, N Rocks, C Kearns; S Cassidy, A Devlin, C McErlean. Subs: A McElhone for McErlean, C Mitchell for O'Brien.

REF -- M Higgins (Fermanagh).

Irish Independent