Danske Bank Markey Cup final:
Abbey Vocational School 1-12 Fermanagh Schools 1-5
Congratulations to the Abbey Vocational School who finally got their hands on the Markey Cup when they had seven points to spare over a battling Fermanagh Schools side at Garvaghey on Wednesday 9th March 2016.
It was a game that had been played in a sporting manner until four minutes from time when a scuffle broke out that saw referee Conor Dourneen brandish straight red cards to Fermanagh duo Chris McCabe and Thomas McGurran, as well as Abbey centre half-forward Jack Keaney.
The Donegal lads led 1-4 to 0-2 at half-time, but Fermanagh Schools had their chances as they kicked eight first-half wides. The lively Daniel Brennan kicked the opening two points inside three minutes before a flowing move saw Jamie Crawford put them further in front.
Fermanagh Schools had a great chance to level matters in the 13th minute, but Paul Og O’Reilly kicked the ball far too soon when in the clear with only the keeper to beat and he shot wide. Thomas McGowan and Jack Keaney then combined to find Brennan again and, once more, his finish was unerring with another quality point.
It took Fermanagh Schools 23 minutes to open their account through a 40-metre free from midfielder Ryan Morris, their only scorer on the night. Moments later, Abbey grabbed their goal when Thomas McGowan challenged ‘keeper McGurran and the ball broke for Daniel Gallagher to finish from close range. Morris then cut in from the left-wing to land a delightful point, but their finishing continued to let them down.
A Morris free reduced the deficit on the restart, but Abbey quickly responded when man-of-the-match Brennan took a good catch before turning sharply to split the posts again. O’Reilly, Enda Cassidy and Morris were getting through a lot of work for the Fermanagh lads and the latter hit the target again with a superb effort with the outside of his boot.
Every time though, Abbey were able to respond, which is always the sign of a good side. Nathan Ward slotted over a free before centre half-forward Keaney took a couple of quality scores. Either side of that, Morris knocked over another free, which was to prove Fermanagh Schools’ last point with a quarter-of-an-hour left to play.
Keaney then scored from a placed ball before that man Brennan found the range again with another quality score from play. Midfielder Neil Ward tagged on a point and, after the scuffle, Fermanagh got their goal, Morris crashing a 20-metre free straight to the net. It proved to be only a consolation score, however, as Abbey closed the game out with a point from substitute Conor Breslin.
The Donegal lads now play the MacLarnon Cup winners to see who represents Ulster in the All-Ireland series.
Abbey Vocational School: G Mulreaney, D Meehan, A McCrea, C Canavan, J Relihan, P Mogan, B Fegan, B McCole, Neil Ward (0-1), Nathan Ward (0-1 free), J Keaney (0-3, 0-1 free), J Crawford (0-1), D Brennan (0-5), T McGowan, D Gallagher (1-0); Subs: C Gavigan for Meehan, C Breslin (0-1) for Fegan, I Cox for McGowan (black card).
Fermanagh Vocational Schools: T McGurran, C McCabe, J McQuaid, C McDermott, J Toye, E Cassidy, K Smyth, A Calders, R Morris (1-5, 1-3 frees), P O’Reilly, C McBrien, C McGann, C Goodwin, J Flanagan, C McNally; Subs: C Lynn for McQuaid, R Boyle for Calders, N Clerkin for Goodwin, R Moran for McNally.
Referee: C Dourneen (Cavan).