Reigning champions re-ignite Leinster title bid
St. Peter's College 2-13 Athlone C.C. 1-8
Reigning champions St. Peter's re-ignited their bid for repeat success in the Top Oil Leinster Schools Senior football 'A' championship Brother Bosco Cup with an impressive 2-13 to 1-8 victory over Athlone Community College in the Group E decider at the Eire Óg club grounds, Carlow, on Monday of last week.
The Summerhill gang knew that victory was imperative if they were to extend their campaign beyond the group stages, and despite their Westmeath counterparts engineering a goal on 15 minutes, it was otherwise a rather straightforward day's work for all concerned.
Indeed, with Philip Dempsey an ever-willing outlet from left wing-back, towering midfield duo Aaron Breen and Brian Deeny dominating their sector, and Michael Carroll top-scoring with 1-3, they opened up a double-scores 2-10 to 1-5 gap by half-time before professionally seeing the game out after the break.
St. Peter's began in trademark fashion, embarking on the front-foot from the throw-in and easing 0-5 to 0-2 ahead by the 14th minute, with Carroll (one free) and Breen (two frees) kicking a brace each.
But Athlone suddenly restored parity a minute later when Shea Henry and Stephen Lonergan combined well and put the ball on a plate for Donnchadh Gately to palm to the empty net.
The goal-scorer also sailed over a point in the very next attack for what turned out to be his side's last lead of the game.
They enjoyed that advantage for less than six minutes as Carroll converted a free following a push on Dylan Lyne, while Breen also had a punt at the posts correctly ruled as a point by referee John Hickey.
It must be said that the goal that transformed the game in Peter's favour was hugely fortunate as Ben Maddock's attempt from way out the field drifted all the way to the net for a 1-8 to 1-3 lead after 25 minutes.
But there was nothing fluky about their second green flag two minutes later when Liam O'Connor did well to make room for himself before popping to Carroll for a low, accurate drive to the corner of the net, with Dempsey adding a point for good measure to ensure they sat comfortably (2-10 to 1-5) at half-time.
The main talking point of the new half was the nasty-looking knee injury suffered by Athlone's Gately which led to a lengthy delay as his safe removal from the pitch was paramount.
And St. Peter's endured a lethargic spell after that accident, although Athlone only had one point to show for their hard work during this time-frame.
The losers also accounted for two of the last three points before the end, with Dempsey venturing forward one last time for the last St. Peter's score five minutes before the finish.
The draw for the quarter-finals - to be held next month - will take place on Thursday.
St. Peter's: David Pettit (Our Lady's Island/St. Fintan's); Ross Banville (Shelmaliers), Ben Maddock (St. Martin's, 1-0), Michael Codd (St. Martin's); Conall Clancy (Sarsfields), Cian Meyler (Our Lady's Island/St. Fintan's), Philip Dempsey (St. Martin's, 0-2); Aaron Breen (Glynn-Barntown, 0-4, 3 frees), Brian Deeny (Volunteers); Adam Cantwell (St. Martin's, 0-1), Jack Devereux (St. Martin's, 0-1), Michael Carroll (Glynn-Barntown, 1-3, 0-2 frees); Diarmuid Barry (St. Martin's, 0-1), Liam O'Connor (St. Mary's, Rosslare), Dylan Lyne (Glynn-Barntown, 0-1). Subs. - Darragh Nolan (Glynn-Barntown) for Barry (57), Oran Maddock (Crossabeg-Ballymurn) for O'Connor (57), Cathal Devereux (Crossabeg-Ballymurn) for J. Devereux (60+1), Jake Nobbs (Blackwater) for Dempsey (60+5).
Athlone Community College: Patrick Lynch; Luke Fallon, Oisín Rock, James Cunnife; Stephen Lonergan, Charles Nevin, Seán Fox; Jack Connaughton, Oisín Lennon; Michael Watson (0-1 free), Donnchadh Gately (1-1), Jason Nugent; Robbie Dolan (0-1), Shea Henry (0-5, 3 frees), Ferghus Lennon. Subs. - Oisín Kelly for Lonergan (33), Jack O'Beirne for Watson (40), Oisín Kelly for Gately, inj. (46), Dwane Martin for Fox (53).
Referee: John Hickey (Carlow).