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In pictures: St Ronan's Hogan Cup semi-final success 'the stuff dreams are made of'

St Ronan's College, Lurgan 2-10 Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne 1-10

By Kevin Kelly

The scenes at the final whistle in Abbottstown GAA Centre of Excellence yesterday showed just what this result means to St Ronan's, Lurgan as they qualified for the Hogan Cup final for the first time.

Kerry side Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne went into the game as warm favourites but that did not appear to worry the Armagh lads who were worthy winners and can now look forward to a big day out in Croke Park on April 7 when they will meet Rice College, Westport.

The Orchard County representatives raced into a 1-3 to 0-1 lead by the ninth minute, with Adam Loughran kicking two points and Rioghan Meehan blasting in a brilliant goal.

Gradually, though, the Munster champions began to come into the game with Ruaidhri O'Beaglaoich knocking over a number of frees and Cathal Firtear and Deividas Uosis on target from play.

Dylan O'Geibheannaigh levelled matters with a 27th minute goal as the Kerry lads finished the half strongly. O'Beaglaoich scored from play as well as from a free, with Kelly responding from a placed ball sandwiched in between as the Munster champions shaded the opening half 1-7 to 1-6.

Ruairi McConville levelled matters on the restart but Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne were getting on top in the early stages and a free from O'Beaglaoich coupled with an effort from play from O'Geibheannaigh edged them two in front.

St Ronan's, though, then hit a purple patch that got them 1-3 without reply to effectively win the game. Eoin McConville knocked over a free and after Kelly punched the equaliser, the same player notched his fifth score of the afternoon.

In the 52nd minute the crucial score of the contest arrived when St Ronan's struck for their second goal. Meehan and Eoin McConville combined for substitute Josh Megoran to finish in style to the back of the net.

Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne piled on the pressure but all they could manage was a second Uosis point as St Ronan's deservedly booked their place in the decider at headquarters.

The side is managed by David Wilson and Mickey Donnelly and the latter was obviously delighted with the result.

"This is the stuff that dreams are made of," declared Donnelly. "These boys once again showed tremendous character against very good opponents. We got off to the ideal start with some fine scores including Rioghan's goal but we found ourselves a point adrift at half-time.

"In the second-half they dug deep and showed great resilience and composure and it's unbelievable to think that we will be playing in the Hogan Final on Saturday week."

St Ronan's Lurgan: L Mulholland, E McCluskey, A Mulholland, J Haddock, A McCreanor, J Lamont, J Haughey, J Lenehan, T Kelly (0-5, 1F), O Smyth, A Loughran (0-2), R Meehan (1-0), R McConville (0-2), L Monteiro, E McConville (0-1, 1F). Subs: J Megoran (1-0) for Monteiro, C Magee for R McConville, M McAfee for Smyth

Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne: E O'Brosnachain, C O'Flannura, T O' Dubhain, Colin O'Muircheartaigh, Colm O'Muircheartaigh, G O'Leidhinn, P O'Cathallain, F Sauerland, J Aghas, N O'Geibheannaigh, C O'Failbhe, D Uosis (0-2), D O'Geibheannaigh (1-1), C Firtear (0-1), R O'Beaglaoich (0-6, 5F): Subs: C O'Cathain for Sauerland, S O'Morain for N O'Geibheannaigh,

Referee: B Conway (Kildare)

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