DOWN MEMORY LANE
Twenty five years ago St Comgall’s Antrim won the McCormick Cup when they beat Glenravel in the final at Creggan. The Antrim men turned in a fantastic display to bridge a 13 year gap and bring silverware back to the town for the first time since 1982.
S.W. Antrim Junior Football Championship – McCormick Cup final
St. Comgall’s 5-10 Glenravel 1-9
St Comgall’s Antrim won the McCormick Cup, (the South West Junior Championship) when they beat holders Glenravel in the final in Creggan on Sunday. The Con Magees B team went into the game as favourites but boosted by a brilliant display by full forward Damian Devine the Antrim town side raced to a spectacular victory, winning in style by a thirteen point margin.
Antrim, who have been patiently team building over the past number of years, have not collected a piece of silverware since they won the South West title, way back in 1982, and with full-forward Damian Devine in inspired form, the Antrim young guns had too much for the Glenravel men.
Ahead by 3-4 to 0-5 at the interval thanks to a couple of ‘Devine’ goals in the 6th and 27th minutes and another from Brendan McKenna just before the short whistle, the Antrim boys showed a hunger for success, and with each and every one playing well, they were not to be denied.
Devine weighed in with another goal in the 36th minute to complete his hat-trick, and when Brendan McKenna got his second major at the end of the third quarter the game was as good as over, although Glenravel’s Neil McCann got a goal for his side in the 47th minute.
Antrim finished with a flurry and at the end they had recorded a very comprehensive 5-10 to 1-9 winning scoreline and the McCormick Cup was bound for Antrim.
Antrim started well and although they were off target with their first few efforts, a superb 55 meter free which sailed between the sticks by Cormac Allen did much to steady their nerves after 5 minutes play.
Then in the 6th minute Damian Devine gave notice of things to come, when he easily collected a high Paddy Quinn lob to round his marker before blasting to the net, and one minute later Devine found Peter Duffy free with a deft flick, only for the later to just drive to the wrong side of the posts.
The opening minutes belonged to Antrim but Glenravel were beginning to find their feet and centre forward, Neil McCann made their first mark when he split the posts in the 11th minute after a couple of near misses.
Paddy Quinn got another point for Antrim in the 12th minute and Barney Reid had to be at his best to deny the ever dangerous Damian Devine, one minute later with the Glenravel net-minder forced to parry a left footed drive from the full-forward over his crossbar.
Ronan O’Donnell and Neil McCann slotted over points apiece from 30 and 35 meter free kicks in the 14th and 15th minutes but back came Antrim and corner-forward, Brendan McKenna split the posts in the 17th minute to extend their lead again to 1-4 to 0-3.
A couple of Glenravel points via Neil McCann and Fergal Higgins in the 20th and 23d minute brought Glenravel to within a couple of Antrim’s total but in the 27th minute that man Devine exploded into action again and when he collected a Neil McLaughlin lob, he unleashed another left footed drive that blasted to the Glenravel net.
Devine was again to the fore just on the short whistle as he found Brendan McKenna in front of goal with an inch perfect cross with the latter bravely punching to the net, and just when Glenravel had threatened, Antrim had stretched away to a 3-4 to 0-5 interval lead.
Glenravel started briskly in the second period and they had two points via Ronan O’Donnell and Fergal Higgins within three minutes of the restart, but in the 36th minute that man Devine struck again, this time sending over the crossbar after excellent work by full-back Barry Draine.
Peter Duffy split the posts for Antrim in the 40th minute and the Antrim contingent breathed a sigh of relief as Fergal Higgins’ shot on goal came back off the post in the 43d minute and Antrim still remained a useful 3-6 to 0-9 ahead.
A super Brendan McKenna goal in which Peter Duffy and Damian Devine had a hand in the 46th minute took Antrim further ahead but back came the Glensmen and Neil McCann quickly negated that score with a similar at the other end within a minute.
But Antrim had the scent of victory in their nostrils and they were not to be denied, and a super point from Cormac Allen in the 52nd minute was followed by another super strike from full-forward, Damian Devine that yielded another goal two minutes later.
Antrim were now home and hosed and they finished with a flourish and a great James Sisk point was followed by two more from Neil McLaughlin and that man Devine again to take the final score to 5-10 to 1-9 in favour of Antrim.
Scenes of great jubilation greeted the presentation of the McCormick Cup by the South West chairman, Joe O’Boyle to the Antrim captain, and with this trophy now safely tucked away the Antrim boys can go on and take the Antrim Junior title, and certainly on this showing they have nothing to fear in this grade.
The winners certainly had an ace in the pack in full-forward Damian Devine who was in scintillating form but this was no one man show, and each and every one in their ranks played his part to the full, with full-back Barry Drain, James Sisk and Aidan McGovern to the fore in a very sound defence.
Neil McLauglin and Cormac Allen were in superb form in the middle with Brendan McKenna, Peter Duffy and Tom McKendry willing accomplices to the rampant Devine in attack.
Glenravel were best served by Neil McCann, Ronan O’Donnell, Fergal Higgins, Paul McCallin, Rodney Kerr and David McKeown.
P Lennon, H Quigg, P Drain, A McGovern, J Sisk, N McLaughlin, R Moore, C Allen, J McGrandless, T McHenry, P Quinn (capt), B Fitzpatrick, B McKenna, P Devine, P Duffy.
Subs – E McGrattan for McGrandless; A Adams for P Quinn; C McKee for McHenry