ST BENILDUS 2-7 MARIST ATHLONE 1-6
For the first time in their history St Benildus are the Leinster senior football 'A' champions after defeating Marist, Athlone in Saturday's top-flight decider at O'Connor Park, Tullamore.
Benildus put in a first quarter of high intensity and high intent with goals from Joe Raffterty, in the sixth minute, and Paddy Flaherty five minutes later when the powerful Kilmacd Crokes man fired impressively to the net.
Rafferty deflected a Callum Pearson free to the net to propel his side into an early advantage, one they never surrendered.
By the interval Benildus were seven points clear, 2-4 to 0-3, following two excellent Tom Fox points and a converted Tom Keane free.
With wind advantage the Westmeath school battled back in the second half and Ryan Gaffey's ninth minute penalty gave them hope.
However, Benildus remained secure with Luke Doran doing well in defence and Eoin Foley finishing the game strongly to lead the Dublin southsiders to glory.
SCORERS - St Benildus: J Rafferty 1-2, P Flaherty 1-0, T Fox, T Keane (0-2f) 0-2 each, C Pearson 0-1. Marist College: B Derwin 0-3 (0-2f), R Gaffey 1-0 (1-0 pen), C Reid, C McCormack (0-1f), L Carty 0-1 each.
ST BENILDUS COLLEGE: Adam O’Callaghan; Aaron Walsh, Luke Doran, Patrick O’Reilly; Aaron Bradshaw, David Keogh, Simon O’Reilly; Callum Pearson, Patrick Flaherty; Dan O’Brien, Joseph Rafferty, Andrew Fox; Eoin Foley, Tom Fox, Tom Keane. Sub: Adam Kelly for D Keogh (black card);
MARIST COLLEGE: Conor Devaney; Darren Carroll, Emmet Nally, Shane Furey; Eoin Mulvihill, Jimmy Curley, Fionn Dowd; Daniel Reid, Corey Reid; Ryan Gaffey, Conor McCormack, Cathal Mannion; Sean Dowd, Brian Derwin, Kieran Rigney. Subs: Luke Carty for S Dowd; Mark Egan for E Mulvihill; Eoin Egan for C McCormack; Brian Leahy for E Nally (black card).
REF: Chris Dwyer (Offaly).