LEONARD SHIELD FINAL FRIDAY, 1 APRIL NAOMH ÉANNA, GLENGORMLEY
Our Lady and Saint Patrick’s College, Knock 1-17
St. Louis Grammar School, Ballymena 1-12.
Our Lady and Saint Patricks, An Cnoc won the inaugural Leonard Shield Ulster A grade competition in Year 11 hurling in front of a good crowd of supporters and parents able to attend because of the 5pm throw-in agreed by the two teams.
It was a hard-fought victory for Knock after an entertaining struggle between two sets of players renewing their pre-pandemic rivalry. All the players deserve great credit for the skilful and sportsmanlike hurling that they served up over the hour. Thanks also to the referee, Paddy Tumelty and to Naomh Éanna for the use of their excellent facilities.
St. Louis were quick out of the traps in the early exchanges with midfielder Luke McFerran very impressive. Knock began to find their feet gradually, however and Conor Boyle was increasingly influential around the middle. Ben Teggart at number 6 for Our Lady and Saint Patrick’s, surely a candidate for man of the match, was unerring from dead balls, and with Ronan Donnelly and Frank Kane hitting some nice points, Knock went in at half-time ahead by 0-10 to 0-6.
Seán Óg Blaney and Frank Kane were having an almighty tussle on the edge of the square and Eddie Smyth was in superb form in goals for St. Louis. With Fintan Bradley from Cushendall always a threat at corner forward and Pádraig Martin at centre-back making life difficult for the Knock half-forwards, St. Louis brought the game back to two points, 0-12 to 0-10, before Knock hit a purple patch.
Liam Blaney and Conor Boyle hit some excellent scores and Frank Kane, crucially, scored the first goal of the game after a few brilliant stops by the Ballymena defence and goalkeeper. The lead was stretched out to eight points 1-15 to 0-10, but the mid-Antrim boys came roaring back into the contest with a well-taken major from Caolan McFerran. They added on a couple of points to make for a close ending, but Knock held their composure and scored the insurance points, one of which was a monster free from beside the dugouts by Ben Teggart.
Fintan Bradley, Eddie Smyth, Sean Óg Blaney, Luke McFerran and Pádraig Martin were very impressive for St. Louis.
For Our Lady and Saint Patrick’s, Ben Teggart (Captain), Conor Boyle, Liam Blaney, Sean McCollum, Owen O’Neill and Thomas McCusker were very prominent.
St Louis: Eddie Smyth, Sean McDermott, Sean Óg Blaney, Ryan McClements, Jack McKeever, Padraig Martin, Edward McKendry, Luke McFerran, Conor O’Hara, Ger McFadden, Caleb Smith, Ryan O’Boyle, Fintan Bradley, Charlie Cunning, Caolan McFerran
St. Louis scorers: Fintan Bradley 0-7, Pádraig Martin 0-2, Caolan McFerran 1-0, Luke McFerran 0-3
An Cnoc: Marc Guest, Thomas McCusker, Owen O’Neill, Shane O’Connell, Sean McCollum, Ben Teggart, Manus Gilmore, Conor Boyle, Luke Doran, Ronan Donnelly, Liam Blaney, Ronan Kelly, Joe McKay, Frank Kane, Dara Quinn, Cillian Ennis, Cillian Teague, Joe Dynes, Joe Braniff, Conn Flannery, Tomás O’Brien
An Cnoc scorers: Ben Teggart 0-4, Liam Blaney 0-7, Ronan Donnelly 0-3, Conor Boyle 0-1, Frank Kane 1-2