Today we take a look back at the U21 final of 2006. It was Erin’s Own’s first title at this level and represented a break through with quite a number of those on duty for the Toome club that day were to go on and represent their senior side with distinction in the years that followed.
Under – 21 Football Championship Final 2006
Erin’s Own Cargin 2-10 St John’s 1-05
By Geordie McGuckin
Cargin, under the leadership of a superb Michael Mc Cann, defied the odds and the opinion of the pundits when they claimed their first under-21 title at the expense of St John’s at Casement Park.
The Corrigan lads stared as firm favourites but in the event, and despite holding a marked advantage on physicality such proved of little consequence in deciding the issue.
The South West side did take time to settle in the early phase and it was the Johnnies who nipped away to a better start and a couple of early points via Neil Mc Callan and Brian Neeson and it was only after several opportunities were wasted that Enda Mc Grogan defied an acute angle to get the Toome men on the board.
Cargin did look to have nicked the lead when Cormac Mc Guckin rose above the St John’s defence to fist a precision based Enda Mc Grogan cross to the back of net only to see the major wiped in a decision which found little favour amongst those in the green and white.
Micheal Mc Cann who was dominant in the middle where fully aided by Seamie Mc Closkey added a couple of second quarter points but a late Adrian Oliver reply ensure the Corrigan men a 0-04 to 0-03 advantage as the sides sought they sanctuary of the changing area at the end of an opening period despite being outplayed for most of the thirty minutes.
It the Erin’s Own lads had looked more than a little tentative in the opening period they were to leave such behind in the second portion and such was evident from the outset.
Michael Mc Cann climbed majestically to claim the restart throw in and send his sibling Tomas on his way to split the posts and when the indomitable Justin Crozier to combine with release hard grafting Tomas Mc Cann whose precision based delivery to Cormac Mc Guckin whose onward flick sent Enda Mc Grogan on his way to find the net with a superb finish.
The Toome boys were really finding their feet as the second period progressed, confident in possession and deft in delivery and when Michael Mc Cann raised a further trio of white flags they had earned a 1-07 to 0-03 advantage and looked on their way to victory.
The Corrigan men looked down as the last quarter made progress but when Gerry Rafferty despatched a 49th minute penalty to the back of the net and Adrian Oliver stroked a 51st minute ‘45’ between the uprights they looked firmly on the comeback trail.
The Cargin lads did look in some trouble at such juncture as they seemed knocked out of stride and those onlookers in the green and white had been silenced but the South West side led back into positivity by Michael Mc Cann regained composure.
It was a surging run by the mid fielder and a slick combination with his sibling Tomas that sent Cormac Mc Guckin away towards the posts.
The full forward had been denied a major in the opening period by a dubious decision was not to endure such on this occasion as he planted the leather in the back of the net and the die was cast.
Enda Mc Grogan added a 56th minute point and with the excellent Michael Mc Cann adding a late brace such ensured Cargin breasted the winning line to claim the silverware on a 2-10 to 1-05 scoreline.
Cargin: Colm O’ Reilly, Marty Kane, Kevin O’ Boyle, Ryan Mc Closkey, David Mc Elhone, Justin Crozier, Ciaran Kelly, Seamie Mc Closkey, Michael Mc Cann (0-07), Tomas Mc Cann (0-01), Enda Mc Grogan (1-02), Paul Mc Cann, Conor Mc Larnon, Cormac Mc Guckin (1-00), Ciaran Mc Guckin
St Johns: Ryan Thibodaux, Paul Collins, Gerard Mc Curdy, Kevin Kennedy, Liam Knocker, Donal Hartigan, Kevin Cunningham, John Mead (0-01), Neal Mc Callan (0-01), Brian Connolly, Adrian Oliver (0-02), Liam Boyle (0-01), Brian Neeson (0-01),Conor Maskey
Gerry Rafferty (1-00)
Referee B Toland (Lamh Dhearg)