Benildus’ early double delight

by Dave O'Connor

PADDY Flaherty and Joe Rafferty’s early goals laid the base for St Benildus to claim their first ever Leinster College Senior A football championship title as they got the better of Marist College last Saturday by four points.
It helped them build a 2-4 to 0-3 half-time lead and while Marist fought back in the second half, they could not close the gap enough to threaten the Stillorgan outfit.
Rafferty had helped his side get off to a great start when he scored the first point of the tie early on before Marist got back on terms through the impressive Brian Derwin.
But it was the last time his side would be on a level standing as Rafferty powered home a shot in the 11th minute for the game’s opening goal after an attack through the middle unlocked the door.
Four minutes later, Rafferty got on the end of a Callum Pearson free, guiding the ball into the net to set up an imposing advantage with precious little time gone.
Tom Fox continued Benildus’ scoring spree with a couple of points before a Derwin free but a point from Tom Keane eventually left seven points in the difference at the break.
Keane tacked on another free before Marist had their route back into the game when Daniel Reid was felled on the squelchy surface in the 40th minute.
Ryan Gaffey converted the subsequent penalty to close the gap to five points but Benildus closed out the game well with Rafferty adding another point in the final throes, cancelling out a super effort from Corey Reid.
Defensively, Benildus were superb, limiting Marist to just three points from play throughout the game, allowing them precious few sights of the posts, working the conditions superbly.
It continued the pain for Marist who lost their fourth final at this level.
The win followed hot on the heels of Benildus’s semi-final win over Scoil Mhuire.

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