Report on Finals Day.
By Paddy Campbell
The annual Allianz Cumann na
mBunscol and Duin Finals Day took place in St. Malachy’s Park Castlewellan on
Sat 28 May . Although the conditions were poor due to the strength of the
wind, all the finalists served up an exciting brand of attacking football and
endeavoured to display all the skills inherent to Gaelic football. The first
game on the programme brought together two well known neighbouring teams viz.
St. Mary’s Boys’ Rostrevor and St. Dallan’s P.S. Warrenpoint. From the throw
in, Rostrevor, playing with the strong breeze, laid siege on the Warrenpoint
goals and following a poor clearance, Lee Clerkin found the back of the
Warrenpoint net. St. Dallan’s reply came from a line ball. Ciaran McCartan
found Paudie McGrath who passed to Stehen Monaghan, his hand pass came to
Conor Austin who took his point. The Warrenpoint half back was supreme at this
stage which necessitated Rostrevor taking long shots at goal from which Ryan
Cousins claimed two points. Sean Pol Curran increased their lead before Conor
Austin reduced the deficit by one point.
Half time score: Rostrevor
1-3 Warrenpoint 0-2
Warrenpoint had the advantage of
the strong breeze in the second half and their supporters confidently awaited
their revival but it was not to be. Right from the throw in, a super move
involving an interchange between six different players resulted in a Jordan
Fegan goal. There followed a period of end to end attacking football which
both defences proved their worth. Patrick Morgan and Stephen Doyle were
outstanding for Rostrevor while Ciaran McCartan, Conor Austin and Michael
McCaffery spurred on the St. Dallan’s team. Lee Clerkin and Jordan Fegan
combined well to set Ryan Cousins up for a goal and then following a mix up in
the Warrenoint defence, Jordan Fegan helped himself to another goal.
Warrenpoint continued to harass the Rostrevor defence with Paudie McGrath and
Conor Austin working hard to provide Ciaran McCartan with a chance of a goal.
Ciaran McCartan completed the onsluaght with a brace of points but it was too
little too late and Rostrevor ran out comfortable winners. Both teams and
their mentors can be justifiably proud of the skills displayed by their
charges and this augurs well for the future of Gaelic games in our county.
Final Score: Rostrevor
4-4 Warrenpoint 1-4
In a response to the recent surge
of interest in girls’ football, the first ever girls’ football championship
final was next on the agenda. This brought together for the third time this
season, the emerging talent of the girls from St. Patrick’s Saul and St.
Mary’s P.S. Newcastle. With the honours shared in their previous encounters,
this suggested another epic match and indeed we were not disappointed.
Newcastle captain Aimee O’Higgins led by example and ensured her team were
ahead at half time by scoring a goal and a point and setting Annick Maginn up
for a point, Orla Trainor being the other Newcastle scorer . For Saul,
Catherine Hamilton had a point along with their captain Megan Smith while Lisa
McMullan scored an all important goal to leave the half time scores:
Saul 1-2 St. Mary’s
The second half was a keenly
contested affair with both teams having opportunities to wrap it all up but
the only score came from the boot of Saul’s Catherine Hamilton and left the
teams level at fulltime.
Saul 1-3 St. Mary’s
Into extra time and the only
score between these two evenly matched and highly competitive sides came from
Newcastle’s captain Aimee O’Higgins in the form of a goal.
Final Score: St. Mary’s
Newcastle 2-3 St. Patrick’s
After the final whistle, John
Crossey Games Promotional Officer for Down presented the Bargainland trophy to
Aimee O’Higgins as captain of the newly crowned Girls’ Football Champions of
Down for 2005.
St. Mary's P.S. Newcastle girls' team who won the first ever
Girls' Football Final
In the 7 aside final we had the
novel pairing of St. Patrick’s Saul and the combined forces of St. Mary’s Barr
and St. John’s Glenn. Football fever has been at a high pitch this week in St.
Patrick’s Saul and while the hopes of the girls’ had been already dashed, this
confident and skilful boys’ team had high aspirations of collecting the
football crown. The game began with a lightening Saul attack involving several
players and ended with Jack Murnin opening their account with a point. This
elicited a quick response from Barr/Glenn. Goalkeeper Cathal McNulty’s kickout
found captain Shay McCartan whose solo run opened up the Saul defence and
allowed Brian McParland to score a goal. After a spell of frenetic football,
Saul’s Jack Murnin passed to Cathail Arnold who found the back of the
Barr/Glenn net. Before half time both numbers fours got on the score sheet,
Rory Mullen getting a point for Saul while Cormac Clarke had a goal for
Half time score: St. Patrick’s
Saul 1-2 Barr/Glenn 2-1
The second was dominated by
Barr/Glenn and although they never gave up trying, Saul missed a penalty and
could not match the pace of the south Down outfit. Shay McCartan comtinued to
attack the Saul goal and was duly awarded with a goal for himself as well as
being provider for Brian McParland’s goal.
Final score: St.
Patrick’s Saul 2-3
Mickey McVeigh, Ulster goalkeeper
& captain, presented the 7 aside championship trophy to Shay McCartan of the
victorious Barr/ Glenn team.
The final game was the
re-enactment of the previous three years final with Ballyholland trying to
overcome Kilcoo who had beaten them for the past two years in this
competition. Kilcoo, playing with a strong breeze, were soon into their stride
and only a combination of poor shooting and some excellent defending kept the
beleagured Ballyholland side in the match. Some superb hand and foot passing
enable the boys from Kilcoo to tear through the Ballyholland defence and by
half time they led by 13 points thanks to the efforts of Darryl Brannigan,
Ryan Johnston and Martin Devlin.
Half time score: Ballyholland
0-0 Kilcoo 2-7
With the wind on their backs,
Ballyholland soon set about reducing the margin with points from Colm Keenan
and Niall McKevitt and long range goals from Nathan Murphy and Ruairi White.
However the solo runs of Laurence Devlin and the prolific scoring of Ryan
Johnston, Martin Devlin and Nathan Smyth ensured that Ballyholland never got
too close to their opponents.
Ballyholland 3-2 Kilcoo 4-9
After the final, Mickey McVeigh
presented the trophy to Darryl Brannigan, captain of the Kilcoo team. Mr Pat
Watterson, Cathaoirleach Cumann na mBunscol and Duin, congratulated all who
had participated in the Finals Day. He reiterated the words spoken by Jerry
Quinn earlier regarding the level of skills portrayed by all the teams and the
commitment of their coaches and parents. He spoke of his appreciation of the
generosity of the sponsors Allianz. He thanked St. Malachy’s GAC Castlewellan
for the use of their excellent facilities and wished them every success in
this their centenary year. To the members of Cumann na mBunscol an Duin who
work so hard to ensure the success of all the competitions, he offered his
sincere thanks on behalf of all the schools.
Photo - Shay McCartan captain of the Barr/ Glenn team with his father John
who captain Down Minors in 1977