O’Connor hit a personal tally of 3-06 as Coláistí Inis Eoghain saw off Patrician College Carrickmacross in today’s McLarnon Cup semi-final in Garvaghey, Tyrone.
The teams were level – 1-05 apiece – at the break, with O’Connor’s first goal keeping the Donegal teenagers in touch.
The Monaghan side had the lion’s share of the play in the opening half and led by 1-5 to 0-3 after 23 minutes, the goal coming from Ronan McDonald.
However Inis Eoghain’s county senior panellist Darach conjured up a goal and 2 points so that the teams turned over level at 1-5 each.
The real damage was done right after the break when Kevin McLaughlin scored a goal for the north Donegal boys. O’Connor picked up the resultant short kick-out and ran through for his second goal.
And in the 36th minute O’Connor smashed a great shot in off the left post to complete his hat-trick and leave Carrick trailing by 4-5 to 0-6.
To their credit, Patrician came back with 5 points in a row, 3 from Donal Meegan. O’Connor responded with a point, but Aaron Jones fired in a 48th minute goal to put his side right back in contention at 4-7 to 2-11.
However they could not close the gap any further as O’Connor dropped back to steady the Inis Eoghain ship and still added his fifth point.
There could well be an all-Donegal final with St Eunan’s Letterkenny facing St Malachy’s Belfast also at Garvaghey this Wednesday evening (7.30pm).
Coláistí Inis Eoghain: Jordan McLaughlin; Danny Monagle, Jack O’Loughlin, Stephen O’Donnell; Gary Doherty, Tony McClenaghan, Sam Doherty; Caolan McGonagle, Fergal Doherty; Mark Coyle, Darach O’Connor (3-5, 0-5f), Sean McHugh (0-1); John Campbell (0-4, 2f), Kevin McLaughlin (1-0), Shane McLaughlin. Subs: James Jackson for M Coyle (half time); Ultan Doherty for S McLaughlin (52 mins).
Patrician College Carrickmacross: Shane Garland; Cathal McKeown, Paul McArdle, Conor Duffy; David Wilson, Aaron Birdy, Mikey Murnaghan; Michael Metzger, Stephen Cunningham (0-1); Ronan McDonald (1-0), Paudie Kirk, Donal Meegan (0-6, 2f); Alan McCaughey, Dara Rowe (0-3), Aaron Jones (1-3, 2f). Subs: Conor Russell for C McKeown (half time); Corey Sullivan for R McDonald (51 mins); Daniel McDonald for M Murnaghan (55 mins).