There was plenty of excitement and smiles on show as a very special guest arrived to celebrate with the St Mary’s Aghagallon All Stars team during their final training session of 2023.
The All Stars have been continuing their winter training indoors in Aghagallon Community Hall with a specialised YoGAA programme delivered by local yoga instructor Geraldine Doone. Over the five week programme, the players were taught yoga and breathing exercises to improve their strength, endurance and mobility and to get them fit and ready for the new season ahead.
As it turns out, Santa is a huge GAA fan, had heard all about the team and couldn’t wait to meet them. Santa welcomed the players to his grotto after their session for a special meet and greet. Luckily, only the good list was required on the day, and everyone is assured that Santa will definitely be visiting Aghagallon in a few weeks. Santa’s elf, ‘Sophia Sparkles’ was on hand to help give each player a little present, while The Grinch kept everyone entertained throughout the morning.
The St Mary’s Aghagallon All Stars would like to wish everyone a very happy and healthy Christmas and a huge thanks for your support throughout the year. A special thanks to Bert Trowlen for all the precious photographs he has captured throughout the year. Memories that the families will surely treasure forever.
Santa even left a letter for Bert, or at least we think it was Santa
Four Masters (Donegal) 2-9) Maherafelt (Derry) 0-13
Two goals in injury time saw Donegal champions Four Masters snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in Saturday evening’s quarter final of the St Pauls Ulster Minor Football tournament against Derry champions O’Donova Rossa, Magherafelt at Colaiste Feirste.
With the wind at their backs in the first half the Magherafelt boys were in total command and after twenty one minutes play they were 0-8 to 0-0 ahead, their brilliant midfielder Conall Higgins scoring six of the points. It was twenty five minutes before the Donegal champions opened their account when Colhoon scored their first point and they added to it four minutes later, but Magherafelt came back with a J Beattie point in injury time to send them in with what appeared to be a comfortable seven point cushion.
When Four Masters got the four points of the second half, three of them from brilliant corner forward McCahill, it was clear this game was far from over, but Man of the Match Conall Higgins appeared to have wrapped it all up when got two of the next three points to push the gap out to three again. When the Derry champions pushed the gap out to five going into injury time a place in the semi-final seemed assured, but the drama was only starting.
In a totally incredible finish Four Masters were awarded a penalty which centre forward Kevin Muldoon fired to the net, which cut the gap to two points. Magherafelt must have still thought the game was safe but in the fifth minute of injury time a long ball into the Maghera square was punched home by Tiernan McBride to put his team in front, and there was still time for corner forward Turlough Carr to add the insurance point.
Four Masters: L McCaughan; A McHugh, D McGinty, T McGovern; C Gavigan, C McCrea, A Quinn; T McBride (1-0), T Colhoun (0-1); Tomas Carr (0-1), K Muldoon (1-0 pen), P McGonagle; C McCahill (0-5, 2f), O Doherty, Turlough Carr (0-2) Subs: E O’Neill for C Gavigan (47), L McNamee for A McHugh (59), C Dunnion for A Quinn (63)
Black card: C McCrea (37) Yellow Cards: T Colhoun (20), C McCahill (50)
Magherafelt: K Campbell; T Cartin, Z Gavigan, C McCabe; E Spiers (0-1), R Small, C Kerr; J Beattie (0-1), Conall Higgins (0-8, 2f); M McKenna (0-1), Caolan Higgins, L Higgins; B McCormack (0-1), C Spiers (0-1f), M Higgins Subs: K Maynes for B McCormack (38), T Beattie for C McCabe (54), M Lavery for C Kerr (54)
Castleblaney Faughs became the first side to reach the last four of the FonaCAB St Pauls Ulster Minor Championship with a hard fought 1-12 to 1-11 win over Clan na Gael at An Sportlann this afternoon.
The Monaghan and Armagh Champions braved Storm Elin to open up this year’s tournament and it was Castleblaney who drew first blood when Shea Broderick rifled low to the net inside of three minutes.
They extended their lead through a Max McGinnity free, with Ronan McAlindan replying from the same scenario to get the Clans up and running.
Castleblaney almost had their second goal inside the first quarter of an hour after a well worked move saw McGinnity bare down on goal, but his low effort crashed off the outside of the post.
They would further extend their lead through back-to-back Lorcan Mone scores, though Clan na Gael responded with Ross Marsden and Ronan McAlindan kicking successive frees.
The sides traded further scores before the break, Max McGinnity doubled his tally for the half before McAlindan kicked a terrific point from out by the side-line- his sides first from play to ensure that Broderick’s goal was the difference, giving Casteblaney and a 1-04-0-04 advantage at the midway point.
The Faughs began the second period brightly, extending their lead through a fisted point from Lorcan Mone that should have found the net and a Tristan Nugent angled shot.
That generated a response from the Armagh Champions and on 34 minutes Clan na Gael were back in business.
Ronan McAlindan stood over a free and opted to play it off the shoulder to Aodhan Henderson- who made and lined up a shot that was deflected into the net to make it 1-06-1-04.
Castleblaney didn’t panic and back-to-back points from Max McGinnity (free) and Harry McQuillan saw them regain the initiative.
Momentum returned to Clan na Gael, and they had reduced arrears to the bare minimum approaching the final quarter with three scores without reply.
Calvin McConville released Ross Marsden to pop over, McConville then swung over his first score of the afternoon before Ronan McAlindan dropped over another outstanding point to make it 1-08-1-07.
Successive points from McGinnity (free) and Lorcan Mone afforded their side some brief breathing space until Ronan McAlindan converted a free.
Tom Carey stretched Castleblaney’s lead back to three, after selling a couple of shimmy’s and producing a confident point.
That would prove to be the last point from play as a series of frees concluded the afternoons scoring.
McAlindan brought his tally to five from the placed ball, landing back-to-back frees to leave it a one-point game yet again (1-11-1-10).
Max McGinnity’s fourth converted free would prove the insurance score for Castleblaney as McAlindan could only respond with a further point from a free as the Monaghan natives held on for a narrow 1-12-1-11 win at the full-time whistle to book their place in the last four and a clash with Four Masters next Sunday afternoon.
Clan na Gael: Z McCaughley, T Maginn, S Reid, F Hegarty, A McGivern, N McParland, J McConville, C McCrory, R Marsden (0-02, 0-01f), A Henderson (1-00), R McAlindan (0-08, 0-06f), C McConville (0-01), J McCaugherty, L Murray, S McConville-Burke. Subs: D McConville for J McConville (36), D Morrow for J McCaugherty (49).
Castleblaney Faughs: J Flanagan, D Function, P Carville, A Higgins, H McQuillan (0-01), T Carey (0-01), T McGeough, S Hanratty, C Murphy, S Broderick (1-00), T Nugent (0-01), B Sherry, M McGinnity (0-05, 0-04f), L Mone (0-04), C Conlon. Subs: S Miller for B Sherry (38), C Hughes for C Conlon (55).
The St. Paul’s fona/CAB Ulster Minor Football tournament gets underway tomorrow despite a late withdrawel by the Tyrone representatives from the tournament.
A statement issued by St. Paul’s this week read:
The organising committee has received confirmation this morning from Tyrone GAA that they have stalled the Tyrone Minor Football Championship until the new-year and as a result, there will be no Tyrone representative participating in the 2023 fonaCAB Ulster Minor Football Tournament, supported by Belfast City Council. CLG Naomh Pól now progress to quarter final 4 where Mayobridge await.
While this is not the outcome anyone wishes to see, the organising committee is happy to bring the uncertainty to an end.
We look forward to the beginning of the tournament this Saturday with a blockbuster opening day double header at Sportlann, Colaiste Feirste between Clan na Gael v Castleblaney Faughs at 1pm and Four Masters v Magherafelt at 5pm