St Ciaran's come up short in title bid
St Ciaran's 2-16 Ballinrobe 2-19
St Ciaran's Ballygawley's hopes of a first Paddy Drummond All Ireland Schools' title ended in disappointment at Croke Park when they lost by three points to Ballinrobe after extra time.
The Mayo side struck for an early goal from full forward Conor Heneghan, but The Tyrone school began to get on top with the help of quality points from Daniel Millar, Pascal Donaghy and Thomas Hoy and at the break they led 0-7 to 1-3.
Oisin Mullin levelled matters on the restart before a fisted effort from Heneghan put his side in front. Caoimhin O'Donnell then did well to chase a lost cause and keep the ball in play before squaring it for Cormaic Donnelly to fire to the net.
But it was Ballinrobe who dominated the rest of the third quarter and points from Adam Barrett, Cathal Slattery and Thomas Conroy saw them establish a 1-10 to 1-7 lead.
St Ciaran's were struggling but two well struck 45s from Donnelly gave them a new lease of life and when O'Donnell fired over the equaliser they had the bit between their teeth. When Hoy split the posts the silverware looked destined for Tyrone but Heneghan held his nerve to knock over an injury time free to force extra time.
Donaghy fired over a superb point to edge Ballygawley in front but then Ballinrobe took over. Darren Munroe, Tom Quinn, Conroy and Slattery all had points either side of a Darragh McGovern goal as they took a stranglehold on proceedings.
A Ciaran Traynor goal though brought St Ciaran's back into it and when Donaghy had the final say of the half they had closed the gap to 2-16 to 2-13 on the turnaround. Donnelly and Donaghy both landed superb points and with five minutes left in extra time the deficit was down to the minimum. It was anybody's game at that stage but St Ciaran's weren't able to get on level terms. Slattery kicked a brace with Conroy also on target with St Ciaran's only response coming from Callum Corrigan as their brace bid to win the title came up short.
St Ciaran's: C Donnelly 1-4, P Donaghy 0-6, C Traynor 1-0, T Hoy 0-2, D Millar 0-2, C O Donnell 0-1, C Corrigan 0-1
Ballinrobe: C Heneghan 1-5, C Slattery 0-6, T Conroy 0-4, D McGovern 1-0, O Mullin 0-1, B O Halloran 0-1, A Barrett 0-1, T Quinn 0-1.