Quinn helps St Mary's net final slot
St Mary's, Magherafelt 1-11 - St Paul's Bessbrook 0-13
St Mary's, Magherafelt just managed to squeeze into a MacRory Cup final meeting with St Colman's College Newry when they pipped a gallant St Paul's, Bessbrook by a solitary point in a thrilling semi-final replay at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh last night.
In a match that ebbed and flowed, St Mary's produced a strong finish to get over the line in a nail-biting climax.
St Paul's, eager and energetic, set the early pace and with Liam Kerr underlining his accuracy from play, they kept St Mary's on the back foot for a spell.
Kerr complemented his three points from play with another from a free while Richard Keenan, Kieran Cosgrove and Conor Clarke also contributed points as the Bessbrook side kept their noses in front at the interval by 0-7 to 0-6.
Daniel Bradley landed two of the St Mary's points, one from a free, while the lively Kevin Small, Cormac Murphy, Simon McErlain and the creative Liam Quinn were also on target despite being forced to shoot from distance on occasions because of the St Paul's defensive screening.
Quinn was particularly impressive throughout at centre-half-forward for St Mary's while Declan Loye and Eamon McCabe formed a resilient spine within the St Paul's defence.
After Shea Loye (2), Ryan Hughes and Richard Keenan posted points for St Paul's in the third quarter they looked to have taken control but a superb goal from Quinn galvanised St Mary's.
Tiarnan McAteer and the ubiquitous Quinn both hit points before Bradley fired over the winner to bring the Oak Leaf county side into the decider.
They have never won the trophy whereas St Colman's will be bidding for their 20th crown and this will surely lend huge appeal to what should be a spectacular St Patrick's Day showdown.
St Mary's scorers: L Quinn 1-2 (1f), D Bradley 0-3 (1f), C Murphy 0-2, K Small, S McErlain, C Devlin, T McAteer 0-1 each.
St Paul's scorers: L Kerr 0-5 (2f), R Keenan 0-3, S Loye 0-2, K Cosgrove, C Clarke, R Hughes 0-1 each.