emotions for Toner Family as ford come out on top
East Down Under-21 League Final: BRYANSFORD 1-6 CASTLEWELLAN
By Terry McLaughlin
THERE were mixed emotions on and off the pitch for
the Toner family last Sunday.
For while Castlewellan joint manager Harry Toner was
doing all he could to try and plot the downfall of
the Ford from the sidelines, on the pitch the perspective
was entirely different for Bryansford’s brilliant
defender Stephen Toner.
He was one of the real defensive stars for the Ford
as they saw off the huge challenge from Castlewellan
in the East Down League final.
Over the course of the hour both individuals did all
in their power to ensure that their team won.
On the day the glory belonged to Stephen’s Bryansford,
the disappointment to Harry’s Castlewellan.
A past championship winning player with Castlewellan,
the new generation of the Toner family was brought
up in Newcastle.
And that meant that when it came to playing Gaelic
football it was the green and gold rather than the
green and black that Stephen opted for.
One of the emerging talents of a new look Bryansford
team, the development of Stephen Toner into a defender
of real quality is a huge bonus for the St. Patrick’s
It meant however that the Ford’s gain was Castlewellan’s
loss. That however has never affected the absolute
commitment that the popular Harry has always provided
in terms of helping Stephen develop into a player
capable of wearing the Down Minor colours.
When it comes to supporting one another father and
son have the greatest respect for one another.
That was emphasised after the final whistle last Sunday
when the first person that Harry and Stephen Toner
looked out for was each other.
The warm embrace, the words of congratulation from
a father to a son, the words of commiseration from
a son to a father, were given and sealed by a handshake
of real respect.
They are both equally committed to their respective
But on Sunday the family ties that are the true community
strength of the Gaelic Athletic Association were underlined,
even though it involved such strong local rivals as
Bryansford and Castlewellan.