Smyth the hero as St Ronan's claim first title
St Ronan's Lurgan 1-10 Rice College Westport 1-9
Oisin Smyth scored a stunning late point to give St Ronan's College their maiden Hogan Cup title at Croke Park.
The Lurgan boys saw off the challenge of Westport's Rice College in a tense decider to become the first Armagh school to claim the title since St Patrick's Grammar won it in the competition's inaugural year of 1946.
Smyth kicked four points from play and was the game's stand-out player. His captain Jamie Haughey also put in a ferocious hour's graft at wing-back, while full-forward Leo Monteiro showed some lovely touches at the fulcrum of his side's attack.
Rice will rightly feel that, on another day, this game could have gone their way but they never quite scaling the heights of their Connacht final and All-Ireland semi-final displays.
Pat Lambert tried manfully to drive his side on and Eoghan McLaughlin impressed at centre-back but they could have no real complaints about the result.
A goal from midfielder Tiernan Kelly early in the second half proved decisive for Ronan's, who trailed by two at the break; the Westport boys having raised a green flag after just six minutes through Keith Joyce.
Kelly pulled on a loose ball after Smyth's shot was half-blocked.
From that point on it was the Westport school giving chase, and, although they held the lead as late as the 46th minute, they failed to register a score for the final quarter of the hour.
Adam Loughran brought Ronan's level before Smyth sent a beautiful effort arcing over off the outside of his right boot from the foot of the Hogan Stand. It was a score worthy of winning any final.
Rice College captain Lambert thought he had equalised from a late free only to have the score ruled out by HawkEye.
Scorers - St Ronan's: O Smyth 0-4, T Kelly 1-0, E McConville 0-3 (2 '45s, 1f), A Loughran 0-2, R Mioghan 0-1. Rice College: K Joyce 1-1, S Loftus 0-4 (4fs), M Moran 0-2, P Lambert 0-2 (1f).
St Ronan's - L Mulholland; E McCluskey, A Mulholland, J Haddock; A McCreanor, J Lamont, J Haughey; J Lenehan, T Kelly; O Smyth, A Loughran, R Meehan; R McConville, L Monteiro, E McConville. Subs: M McAfee for R McConville (39), J Megoran for McCreanor (60).
Rice College - C Kennedy; L Dawson, R Brickenden, R Walsh; J Carney, E McLaughlin, M Brady; F McManamon, P Chambers; K Joyce, M Moran, L Tunney; S Loftus, P Lambert, C Heaney. Subs: C Calvey for Loftus (54 mins), John McGlynn for Brady (60).
Ref - B Cawley (Kildare).
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