21 years is a mighty long time

When Cargin collected their first SFC title in 1974 there were many who felt it would herald a period of dominance for the Toome men but that success didn’t follow and it was another two decades before the second championship was captured. In between the Erin’s Own were beaten in five finals before success was finally achieved in 1995

The long wait is over as Cargin secure second title

                         Erin’s Own Cargin 0-08 St John’s 0-06

By Geordie McGuckin

The word of an old ballad goes ‘twenty one years is a might long time’ and such was indeed to ring true for the people of Cargin when they collected their second senior championship title in 1995.

It was away back in 1974 that they celebrated the acquisition of their first ever senior football championship and the interim years had been liberally sprinkled with disappointments aplenty and gut wrenching defeats in the respective finals of 1987, 89, 90, 93, and 94 for the parish located on the banks of the Bann.

There were those who even suggested a curse had been put on the Erin’s to dictate they would only ever lift one piece of silver.

In the event, and despite the prophetic words of ‘Ned Mc Guigan’ the supposed author of the curse, the people of Cargin arrived to Casement park again in their droves as their heroes crossed swords with the mighty St Johns who were in search of their 24th senior title.

St John’s went into this final as firm favourites and with the wind at their backs in the opening half, nipped into an early lead. Jimmy Wilson was just off target in the opening minute before the city men drew first blood when Packie Nolan nipped in to open their account.

Cargin quickly responded however as a Dessie Mc Guckin interception and a long delivery was claimed by the flame haired Ciaran O’ Neill who shrugged aside his marker to fire between the posts.

St John’s were quick to regain control and aided by the elements further points from Eamon Blayney, a brother of Down star Greg, and further white flags raised in sequence by Paddy Nugent and Donal Kennedy saw the Corrigan men nip 0-04 to 0-01 ahead and they looked in control.

Cargin settled down however term and warming to the task on hand with their defence getting to grips with the threat of a pace laden St John’s attack.

The Quinn, Mc Quillan partnership were getting on top at midfield and their exciting young forward Kevin Doyle came to fetch before sending Brian Gribbin away to place Declan Gallagher for a fine point and when Sheeny McQuillan proved provider the fair haired winger strode forward again to add another.

The Toome men were within a point of the Johnnies as the end of the opening quarter approached but they were just about to lose the services of their team captain as a serious leg injury forced Martin Mc Auley out of the game.

Cargin’s strength in depth had been evident in the 1995 campaign with Martin Logan summoned from the bench as replacement to slot without difficulty in what was a familiar role.

St John’s did increase advantage again when a long range Paddy Hannigan delivery was rewarded with a fine point in the 22nd minute and when Peter Daly quickly followed with another they looked back in the groove.

Back came the Cargin men however and Kevin Doyle, who still has another season in the minor ranks, underlined potential within when he simply zipped through the ranks of blue and white to fire between the posts.

 A brilliant score from the youngster which was to have major impact on proceedings as his marker Paddy Hannigan, who had been booked earlier, was adjudged to have fouled the former on his way out and after consultation with his linesman match referee Billy Reid had no hesitation in sending him off.

Doyle’s injury was to curtail his part in proceedings but the Cargin management had more immediate problems as they were forced into further change as a shoulder injury forced Matthew Gribbin out of the action being replaced by a more than able deputy in Eamon Mc Cann.

Mc Cann was quick into action as it was his timely intervention denied Packie Nolan when a goal looked on in the 29th minute, and restricted St John’s to a 0-06 to 0-04 at the short whistle.

If Cargin were expected to dominate the second half they were served fair warning in the opening minutes of the second half when their young net minder Scott McDonald came off his line to narrow the angle sufficiently as Eamon Blayney fired narrowly wide of the target.

With Edward Quinn dominating the central zone and their defensive unit dominating Cargin were proving wayward in their finishing and when the previously excellent Kevin Doyle was forced out of the action the Toome support were looking a trifle anxious.

St John’s sent Des McNeill into the fray to replace Conal Heatley who had struggled to escape the close attentions of the excellent Paul Craig and when a foul on the latter was fully punished when Sheeny Mc Quillan defied the distance to send a 55 metre free kick between the posts to cut the deficit to the minimum.

Brian Gribbin fired between the posts after another superb Edward Quinn fetch and the resultant roar nearly raised the Casement roof as the Toome men drew alongside at 0-06 apiece at the 48th minute.

A Dessie Mc Guckin intervention to halt Des McNeill set up Brian Gribbin to fire between the sticks as Cargin hit the front for the first time and the momentum was now with the South West side.

Martin Logan, who was relishing the role of ‘extra man ’linked with Raymond ‘Harry’ Mc Guckin to send the excellent Dermot Mc Peake in for a point as his team enjoyed a two point lead with the end in sight.

St John’s never gave up but the Toome men had matters well in hand having not conceded a score in the second half and they crossed the winning line full value for their second championship win.

Cargin’s victory concluded a historic day for the South West division with Sean Stinson’s claiming their first Minor title.

Cargin: Scott Mc Donald, Dermot Mc Peake (0-01), Michael Johnston, Martin Mc Auley (c), Matthew Gribbin, Dessie Mc Guckin, Paul Craig, Sheeny Mc Quillan (0-01), Edward Quinn, Paddy Graffin, Ciaran O’ Neill (0-01), Raymond Mc Guckin, Kevin Doyle (0-01), Brian Gribbin (0-02), Declan Gallagher (0-02)


Martin Logan for M Mc Auley (inj)

Eamon Mc Cann for M Gribbin (inj)

Adrian Craig for K Doyle (inj)

St John’s: Brian Mc Nulty, Andy Healey, Locky Mc Curdy, Andy Mc Gowan, Patrick Nugent (0-01), John Kelly (c), Gearoid Adams, Jimmy Wilson, Donal Kennedy (0-01), Peter Daly (0-01), Eamon Blaney (0-01), Colm Mc Knight (0-01), Conal Heatley, Packie Nolan (0-01), Paddy Hannigan


Des Mc Neill for C Heatley

Enda Mc Kenna for P Daly

Referee Billy Reid (Mc Dermott’s)

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