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Ice-cool McGuigan fires St Pat's into Hogan Cup final

St Patrick's 2-14 Summerhill 3-10

By Declan Bogue

With three minutes to go, St Patrick's Maghera were out of this Hogan Cup semi-final against Summerhill, having dominated for the first three quarters of the game.

Sligo senior panellist Kyle Cawley was slicing through their defence at will and full-forward Nathan Rooney was completely on song with both feet.

They compiled a trio of points to open up a gap before St Pat's manager Paul Hughes reached for the nuclear option by sending on Aussie Rules-bound Conor Glass. Clearly struggling with his shoulder, his presence was a boon nonetheless.

In a final sweeping move downfield, Paddy Quigg popped a ball into Shane McGuigan's grasp. As the Slaughtneil man had a swing, his standing foot was taken away. Referee Niall McKenna was far away but correctly awarded the spot-kick.

Francis Kearney clipped it in off the post to level the game. Two minutes into injury-time, McGuigan completed his haul of 1-8 and broke Summerhill hearts, St Patrick's winning 2-14 to 3-10.

It felt like a completely different game after 22 minutes, the Derry boys moving into a 1-5 to 0-1 lead. The Summerhill backlash was led by Cawley, who skipped inside the St Pat's defensive structure to drive to the net.

A brace of McGuigan points and an assist for an Oisin McWilliams point left them even better placed, but then came the Cawley show.

He helped himself to a point before embarking on a run through the St Pat's defence, finishing with a drive that Sean Cassidy parried - but only to the waiting Quigg, who applied an Ian Rush-type finish to the net.

The comeback looked set to be blown off course when referee McKenna sent off Sean Power, Summerhill fans furious at the perceived mistaken identity.

But they drove on and earned a penalty after a flighted Paddy O'Connor free was fielded majestically by Cian Lally, who was fouled in the square.

Cawley took the first spot-kick which was saved by Cassidy, but it was ordered to be retaken. He made no mistake the second time, putting the Connacht champions ahead for the first time of the day.

Living on scraps at this stage, St Pat's got back on level terms when a ball drilled down the line favoured Summerhill full-back Adrian Cummins, but he was outstripped by Fergal Higgins who carried into the danger zone to point.

That was just prior to Summerhill landing three consecutive points, and the game within the game, once Glass was sent on in desperation as much as hope.

St Pat's will go on to meet St Brendan's of Killarney in the final at Croke Park on April 2.

When all the excitement was over and St Pat's pupils lingered with their players on the pitch, the bitterly disappointed Summerhill pupils made their way to form a human tunnel just before the dressing rooms in Brewster Park, to clap the winners off.

A special day deserved such a special gesture.

ST PATRICK'S MAGHERA: S Cassidy; O McKeever 0-1, P Turner, C Mulholland; P McCormack 0-1, S Downey, C McAllister; P Kearney, J Doherty; D McPeake, P Quigg, O McWilliams 0-2; C Darragh, S McGuigan 1-8, 4f, F Kearney 1-1, 1-0pen, 1f Subs: F Higgins 0-1for Mulholland (half-time), P McLaughlin for McKeever (47m), C Glass for McWilliams, M Mullan for C Darragh (57m)

SUMMERHILL: O Conway; Connor McGovern, A Cummins, B Cox; D O'Hara, S Power, S Mulligan 0-1 P O'Connor 0-1, K Banks; C Lally, C Herron 1-2, D Fallon; K Cawley 2-2, 1-0 pen, 1x'45', N Rooney 0-4, 3f, R Sweeney Subs: C Darcy for Sweeney (33m), K Connell for Cummins (52m)

Referee: Niall McKenna (Monaghan)

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