Holy Trinity just fail to retain crown
Croke Park provided Tyrone legend Peter Canavan with the most treasured moments of his illustrious playing career but the great sporting cathedral offered only heartbreak at the weekend.
Canavan watched the Holy Trinity College, Cookstown, side which he helps coach in tandem with Adrian O'Donnell fall by the narrowest of margins to Leinster title-holders Cnoc Mhuire, Granard in the All-Ireland Vocational Schools' final.
"We perhaps left ourselves with too much to do," said Canavan, "We actually had a couple of late chances that might have earned us a draw at least but it was not to be."
Conor Mhuire were forced to compete with 14 players for two-thirds of the match following the dismissal of Aidan McElligott for a second yellow card.
McElligott had earlier scored the winners' first goal to cancel out Ryan Loughran's three-pointer for the Cookstown side and it was Cnoc Mhuire who led by 2-7 to 1-4 at half-time.
When Israel Ilunga turned James McGahan's flick into his own net entering the last quarter, the Holy Trinity side laid siege to the Granard side's posts that saw the margin reduced to 2-13 to 2-10.
And when Loughran and another substitute Jason Rocks, who had earlier scored the team's second goal, whipped over further points they set the scene for a grandstand finish.
But McGahan put an injury-time effort wide ending their hopes of retaining their crown.
Cnoc Mhuire: L Meehan; T McGahern, D Fitzsimons, I Ilunga; B McKiernan, S McKeogh, L Sullivan (0-1); D McGivney (0-5 frees), A McElligott (1-0); A O'Reilly, M Gorman (0-1), C Mallon; R Brady (0-5 1 free), N Rabbit (1-0), F O'Reilly (0-1). Subs: M Kiernan for A O'Reilly (25 minutes), A Brady for M Gorman (44).
Holy Trinity: A McKiernan; D Fitzpatrick, D McKenna, K Coney; C Quinn, D Devlin, E Coyle; K McGeary, F Burns; R Loughran (1-2), D Magee (0-1), M Quinn, D Mulgrew (0-1), J McGahan (0-6, 3 frees), C Quinn (0-1). Subs: G Goodfellow for Burns (half-time), D Woods for M Quinn (44 minutes), S Kelly for Coyle (44), J Rocks (1-1) for Conor Quinn (54).
Referee: Liam Devenney (Mayo).