Danske Bank MacNamee Cup final 

St Marys CBGS 5-6 Cross and Passion 1-8

St Mary's Year 8/9 hurlers claimed their first Ulster Colleges honours with a strong second half showing seeing them run out convincing winners over Cross and Passion in the final of the MacNamee Cup at Ahoghill on Thursday afternoon. 

The Glen Road outfit drew first blood with a Caolan Cosgrove goal, but after trailing to a Ronan Elliot strike, they restored parity at the midway point. 

Padraig Kelly netted the opening goal of the second period and then proceeded to himself to another 2-2 in the aftermath after Cross and Passion had fought back to close the gap to a single point with a quarter of an hour remaining. 

Thursday’s encounter was a repeat of last year’s Antrim Cup Final when Cross and Passion ran out winners in Dunsilly. St Marys lost out to St Pat’s, Maghera in the Ulster Colleges final in the same year and they were hoping to land their first honours at the third time of asking. 

They made a dream start when Caolan Cosgrove took a lay off from Cristoir McCabe and squeezed a low shot to the net for the opening score. 

Jack Rafferty celebrates netting his side's fourth goal

Jack Rafferty celebrates netting his side's fourth goal

Ronan Elliot replied with a point. Paidi O’Kane added another from a free before Cross and Passion turned things around with Elliot hooking low to the net to give his side a 1-2 to 1-0 lead. 

Relentless St Mary’s pressure followed with Padraig Kelly converting two frees. He was inches away from finding the net in the dying embers of the opening half, only for a goal line clearance to ensure the sides went in deadlocked at 1-2 apiece. 

The Glen Road outfit begin the second half in the ascendancy with Kelly converting his third free of the contest and Gerard Delaney then added one from play. 

They then added their second goal of the afternoon. Padraig Kelly saw his free blocked down, he was prevented from getting a second opportunity on goal and at the third time of asking his shot found the net to make it 2-4 to 1-2. 

Cross and Passion responded to their set back positively, scoring four on the trot to leave the bare minimum separating the sides. Ronan Elliot popped over on the turn, Cahir McCloskey converted a free and Paidi O’Kane dropped over successive scores approaching the final quarter. 

St Mary’s were feeling the pressure, but it was lifted when talisman Kelly shot low across the goal, and it found its way in to give his side a 3-4 to 1-6 lead. 

Captain Padraig Kelly receives the Danske Bank MacNamee Cup from Sean McGourty

Captain Padraig Kelly receives the Danske Bank MacNamee Cup from Sean McGourty

Cahir McCloskey made it a one score game, converting a free in response, Kelly netted his hat trick and a quick fire second followed with substitute Jack Rafferty steering in at the back post after Padraig Kelly saw his shot repelled. 

Cahir McCloskey landed his side's final score from a free, although Kelly notched up two further points to finish with an individual tally of 3-05 (0-3 frees) as St Mary’s ran out winners. 

St Mary’s scorers: Padraig Kelly 3-5 (0-3f), Caolan Cosgrove 1-0, Jack Rafferty 1-0, Gerard Delaney 0-1 
Cross and Passion scorers: Ronan Elliott 1-2, Paudi O’Kane 0-3, Cahir McCloskey 0-3f