St Michael's 1-08 St Colman's 1-08

St Michael’s claimed a draw from their opening game in this year’s MacRory Cup against St Colman’s Newry in Clones on Tuesday afternoon - but it would have felt more like a defeat given the nature of the closing stages of the contest.

With seven minutes of normal time remaining the Enniskillen school held a six-point lead and in truth never really looked in any danger but three frees for St Colman’s from Dara Mussen left a goal dividing the sides.

And then in added on time a cross-field pass in the middle of the pitch was intercepted and St Colman’s sprung forward with St Michael’s corner back Tiernan Swift having no choice but to give away a penalty - resulting in a black card - which was emphatically converted by Ryan Duffy to leave it a draw at the finish.

It was Duffy who had landed the opening point of the contest for the Newry outfit but St Michael’s went on to dominate the early exchanges, hitting a real purple patch that saw them register 1-04 in a four-minute spell.

The first St Michael’s score was a goal as Oisin Swift turned over possession in defence and fed Mattie McDermott. He then laid the ball off to Sean Corry who raced in and clinically dispatched his shot across the goalkeeper and into the far corner of the net.

Buoyed by this St Michael’s kicked on over the next period with McDermott and Corry to the fore.

McDermott rattled over three of the next four points, starting with an excellent free from the left before Dara Cathcart slotted over after Corry had picked off a loose kick out.

McDermott then popped over a mark following a great ball from the influential Conor O’Hanlon after Corry had won back possession and the St Michael’s full forward made it 1-04 to 0-01 after only eight with a fine effort from the right.

At this stage there only looked to be one outcome but in fairness to St Colman’s they steadied the ship albeit without really threatening at the other end.

There were 20 minutes on the clock before the next score arrived, St Colman’s full forward Mussen clipping over a free although St Michael’s answered this with a point from a free of their own as O’Hanlon fired over.

The last say of the half went the way of the Newry side as Mussen slotted over another free but at the break St Michael’s led 1-05 to 0-03.

St Michael’s did have a goal chance early in the second half as Dara Flanagan looked to get in but his shot was half blocked down and was easily gathered by the St Colman’s goalkeeper.

At the other end, the Newry outfit punished St Michael’s for coughing up possession by tagging on a point and Enniskillen goalkeeper Lochlainn King was then called on to make a fine save with his feet.

The Fermanagh school though settled back into the game and substitute Michael Burns fired over a superb score with his first touch before wing-back Rhys Love picked up a break and darted forward before clipping over to make it 1-07 to 0-04 after 43 minutes.

Another Mussen free kept St Colman’s in touch but when O’Hanlon drilled over a 45 in the 49th minute it left St Michael’s with a six-point advantage.

Errors did begin to creep into the St Michael’s game as the half wore on but they still appeared to be in control of the contest heading towards the finish.

However, in the closing stages, St Colman’s were given confidence as three Mussen frees left the goal separating the sides.

Still, St Michael’s looked as if they would hold on but then O’Hanlon’s pass was intercepted by Eoin Duffy who broke forward to win the penalty that would earn them a share of the spoils.