Erin’s Own GAC Awards Presentation

Erin’s Own GAC, Cargin held an individual presentation awards morning at their clubrooms this morning and the following are the recipients of the various awards.

Michael McCann with Peter McNicholl

As part of Peter McNicholl’s HOW I GOT THERE series the All Saints man chats with Cargin and Antrim legend Michael McCann .

In this conversation, we come full circle to discover the importance of being 𝐀𝐋𝐋 𝐈𝐍 from the beginning.

This interview series is to show young people the journey and habits that local sportspeople have taken, to get to an elite level in sport. Hopefully, you or your kids can get some tips from it. 𝐇𝐎𝐖 𝐈 𝐆𝐎𝐓 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐑𝐄

✅ 01:13 Who was the first player to give you a roasting?

✅ 04:31 How do you recover from a bad start to the game?

✅ 8:22 Who were your inspirations growing up?

✅ 10:25 Building Culture at Club Level

✅ 14:36 What sports did you play growing up?

✅ 16:03 Should kids play multiple sports or focus on one?

✅ 17:44 Boxing Memories at All Saints ABC and Ulster Title

✅ 23:07 How do you cope with pressure and nerves?

✅ 27:33 Fitness Levels

✅ 28:50 Michaels Weekly Training and Nutrition Habits

✅ 38:04 Advice to younger couples when balancing sport and a relationship ✅ 41:52 Changing Schools and winning Macrory & Hogan Cups

✅ 44:11 Importance of College Football for player development

✅ 53:17 Have you ever been cut or dropped?

✅ 59:44 Advice on dropping players from player perspective

✅ 1:02:36 Would you ever ask the manager why you were cut?

Game for Anto

Seven years ago All Ireland champions Dublin came to the Kingspan Stadium Ravenhill to play an Ulster Allstars team to raise funds for Anto Finnegan’s deterMND trust. The match was a big success with just over 6,000 fans turning up to see a very exciting game. Dublin played a largely experimental team which incuded debutant Brian Fenton who has since gone on to win six All Ireland medals and has been Footballer of the Year twice, the most recent one being this year.

This was the Belfast Telegraphs report from the game

The combined Ulster and Dublin teams who played in the Game for Anto at Kingspan Stadium, Ravenhill. Pic by Dylan McIlwaine

Ulster All Stars 2-18 Dublin 1-19

Two points may have been the winning margin for Ulster’s Allstars against Dublin at Belfast’s Kingspan Park on Saturday night, but in the end the real winners were Anto Finnegan and deterMND trust.

This Game For Anto took place to raise funds so that research could be carried out for Motor Neurone Disease.

The thousands who arrived at the home of Ulster Rugby were treated to an excellent game with Michael McCann’s goal two minutes after the restart proving pivotal as far as the result was concerned.

But the result, 2-18 to 1-19. was immaterial. Finnegan wore a smile as bright as the stadium’s floodlights at the end.

“It was fantastic, fantastic support from the crowd, teams, minister and businesses. We are just delighted with it all,” he said.

“I spoke to the lads myself in the changing room beforehand and explained to them that your football career is finite and to go out and enjoy every kick of the ball you can.

“Time goes by so quickly so you should enjoy everything while you can.”

Enjoy it they did, as the star-studded line-ups served up a game befitting of the occasion.

The game was played at 13-a-side given the dimensions of the rugby pitch, and this contributed to a rather open contest.

The match got off to a blistering start with Dublin’s Kevin McManamon blasting home only for his effort to be cancelled out in the next attack when Donal O’Hare broke through to find the net.

Ulster’s Paddy Bradley challenges Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton for a high ball.

The first half ebbed and flowed with both sides having their spells. While it may have been a friendly game, Dublin’s Dean Rock must have given manager Jim Gavin food for thought with a fantastic performance, clipping over six points, While Armagh’s Jamie Clark was also in supreme form.

The sides went in 1-10 apiece at the break.

The Ulster side came out firing after the restart when a sweeping move resulted in Dan Gordon feeding the on-rushing Michael McCann who picked his spot and thumped past Stephen Cluxton.

It was virtually score for score thereafter with both sides having their spells, but Ulster always had that cushion. Again, Rock was in fantastic form for the Dubs, slinging over points for fun off his left and right, while Kevin McManamon – having been re-introduced in the second period – also chipped in with scores.

Ulster’s Paddy Cunningham slots over a point. Pic by Dylan McIlwaine

At the other end, Paddy McBrearty and Paddy Cunningham kept the scoreboard ticking over and Eoin Bradley hit a majestic point off his left boot.

Late scores from Eoghan O’Gara and McMenamin brought the visitors within one late on, but McBrearty sealed the Ulster win with a score in injury-time.

“One of the things we set out to do was to make sure his was a really enjoyable night,” said Anto after the game.

“There were some emotions absolutely, but I think we enjoyed it with a smile on our faces.”

Both managers were delighted with how the night unfolded.

Joe Kernan patrolled the Ulster line along with Donegal’s Brian McEniff and the Armagh man said he was pleased with how his side gelled despite not playing as a collective before.

“It’s very hard to get 26 boys who haven’t played together and then make 13 subs to try and win a match,” he said.

Ulster’s Michael McCann celebrates after scoring a goal early in the second-half of Saturday night’s the Game for Anto at Kingspan Stadium, Ravenhill. Pic by Dylan McIlwaine

“Mick McCann was outstanding. Ciaran McKeever settled the whole thing down and then you had Conor Gormley, ‘Ricey’ (Ryan McMenamin) – cool heads at the right time.

“Everybody did the job they were asked to do so the bonus was getting the win.”

For Dublin boss Jim Gavin, it was a chance to get his side together for the first time since their defeat to Donegal in August’s All-Ireland semi-final.

He was happy to contribute to an entertaining contest.

“We hadn’t seen each other since the All-Ireland semi-final so it was nice to meet up with them today,” he said.

“Our whole objective was to go out and put our best foot forward, and make the game as competitive as we could against the top players in Ulster.”

Former Derry star Eoin ‘Skinner’ Bradley showed he has lost none of his touch with a cracking dislplay for Ulster. Pic by Dylan McIlwaine

ULSTER ALLSTARS: R Beggan (0-1 ’45’); K Clarke, G O’Kane; R McCluskey, P Harte, B Donaghy; M McCann (1-1), A Findon; N McKeever, K Dyas (0-1), S Campbell (0-2); D O’Hare (1-1),J Clarke (0-5,1 free). Used subs: C McKeever, KO’Boyle, D Gordon, P McBrearty (0-4, 1 free), E Bradley (0-1), P Cunningham (0-2, 1 free), T Kernan, R McMenamin, S McGreevy, M McGrath. Black cards: R McCluskey (20 mins – replaced by C Gormley).

DUBLIN: S Cluxton; D Byrne, D Daly; P McMahon, J McCaffrey, N Devereux; R Dunleavey, D Byrne; B Fenton, K McManamon (1-4), D Rock (0-10, 5 frees); P Ryan (0-2), E O’Gara (0-4). Used subs: R McDaid, N Walsh, L Molloy, N Scully.

Referee: Pat McEnaney (Monaghan).

Attendance: 6,103.

Pollock fires Gort na Mona to U21 glory

U21 Football Championship Final 2007

Down Memory Lane

Back in 2007 Gort na Móna pulled off a real shock when they won the Under 21 Football Championship for the first time, beating St Gall’s in the final at Casement Park

Gort na Mona 0-10 St. Gall’s 0-8

Gort na Mona laid down a marker for the future by capturing the clubs first ever U21 football championship title. The Turf Lodge side held off St. Gall’s in an entertaining final at Casement Park on Friday night.

They spurned several goal chances, went 20 minutes without scoring and held off a strong comeback by St. Gall’s in the closing stages but still managed to get their hands on the Gerry Cullen Cup. Just 150 days after Cargin defeated St. John’s for the 2006 U21 title, the 2007 championship has concluded already and full credit must go to the county for such a quick and well organised campaign.

The final itself lived up to the billing, with Gort na Mona playing some attractive, quick moving football, pressing high up the pitch. At one stage they had 12 men inside the St. Gall’s 40 meter line with only keeper, Joe Smyth, Paul Conlon and Conor Finnegan left at the other end.

The two Conor’s of Conlon and McGourty got St. Gall’s underway but Micky Pollock’s free squeezed inside the post before the first clear cut goal chance arrived. Gort na Mona moved the ball at pace and Kevin Franklin burst down the left flank, hand passed it inside to Joe Caddell who in turn passed it on to Michael Pollock arriving in the square.

Pollock should have taken the maximum three points but pushed the ball over the bar instead. The Gorts were giving St. Gall’s no way out and too often lofted clearances from the Milltown back-line just came straight back at them.

Gary Doyle pressured Aidan Gribbon into conceding a free which Pollock stroked over before adding another from play to move Gort na Mona two in front. The Gort’s were bossing possession but didn’t turn that possession into scores and when Sean Burke finally got St. Gall’s third score, a full 15 minutes after their second, there was just a point between the sides.

Pollock and Michael McMullan exchanged scores and right on the blow Gort na Mona once again squandered another clear cut goal chance. Pollock again was at the centre of things, beating his marker in the corner and feeding the ball to the unmarked Doyle, who fired over the bar with the goal gaping.

Gort na Mona began the second half well, Michael Pollock sending over a nice point under pressure from Gribbon. Sean O’Hara replied for St. Gall’s, the nippy wing man skipping past his marker before planting the ball between the sticks.

Dermot McVeigh took over free taking responsibilities from Michael Pollock and converted a ‘45’ and then a free after Pollock was fouled by Peter Owens. Pollock tacked on point number seven to his personal tally, the tenth score for Gort na Mona, but that would be their last score of the game with 20 minutes left to play.

St. Gall’s turned up the heat and David Cummings moved into the forward line allowing CJ McGorty to move out to centre-three-quarters. This proved to be a wise move as McGourty began to pepper the Gort na Mona square with Hail Mary balls.

This would have worked had it not been for the impressive Paul Conlon, who was quite magnificent at full-back, while Marty Ward made a couple of impressive catches under pressure. McGourty converted two frees and when Cumming’s shot deflected for a ‘45’ it seemed the tide had turned in St. Gall’s favour.

Eight minutes left and two points adrift St. Gall’s piled forward, leaving space for Pollock to exploit at the other end. He drew a free from Chris Wylie but sent he free wide. Then McVeigh drew a free from Sean Burke but again the free sailed wide when a point would surely have settled the contest.

Another McGourty free fell short and was cleared by Finnegan, and then with the game moving into injury time, McVeigh sent a ‘45’ wide. It didn’t matter as the referee sounded his full-time whistle on the restart and Gort na Mona could celebrate a famous victory.

Some Gort na Mona supporters began chanting “Easy-Easy” but it certainly wasn’t as their side had to work hard for their victory and ultimately the championship. This they did and they can certainly look forward to the future with optimism.

Gort na Mona: Joe Smyth, Brendan Cousins, Paul Conlon, Connor Finnegan, John McCann, Marty Ward, Kevin Franklin, Ciaran Quinn, Conor Fagan, Jim Donnelly, Joe Caddell, Dermot McVeigh 0-2, Gary Doyle 0-1, Colm Kannan, Michael Pollock 0-7, Patrick McCaffrey.

St. Gall’s: Chris Kerr, Peter Owens, Aidan Gribbon, Matthew Shannon, Patrick Flannigan, Darren Harbinson, Mark Kelly, Christopher Wylie, Sean Burke 0-1, Eamon McArdle, Michael McMullan 0-1, Sean O’Hara 0-1, Aaron Thompson, David Cummings, CJ McGourty 0-4, Conor Conlon 0-1.

This was a great year for Gort na Mona with their senior footballers finishing 5th in a 10 team division 1, the only teams they lost to were portglenone, St Galls and cargin.   They recorded notable away victories that year over Creggan, St Paul’s, Lamh Dhearg and St John’s and reached the senior championship semi-final, losing to Portglenone. The same year they won the Intermediate Hurling championship and went on to capture the Ulster title before losing in the All Ireland semi-final.

2007 should have heralded the arrival of the Turf Lodge men as serious contenders for both division 1 league and senior championship but within two years 7 of that great U21 side had left these shores following the 2008 financial crash, in search of employment abroad. They were relegated from division 1 in and it would be another 10 years before they returned to the top division after a successful rebuilding programme.

The club again looks in good health with a Junior Hurling championship success last year and the future looks bright for the men from Enright Park.

Covid Update

Croke Park issue a statement

24ú Feabhra 2021

A chara,

As you will be aware by now, the Irish Government yesterday published their “Covid 19: Resilience and Recovery 2021” plan. There is no immediate change for sport outlined in the plan and as per our last communication to you, it is clear that no on-field activity will be permitted – even at inter county level – until Easter at the earliest.

We will be seeking clarity on certain aspects of the provisions on sport in the new Government document and while the document does envisage the return of inter-county games at Level 4 and of some club games in Level 3, it remains impossible to plan a revised Master Fixtures calendar for 2021, as there is no indication at this point of when these Levels may kick in. The exercise is further complicated by the need to align our plans with whatever is permitted by the NI Executive for Counties and clubs in that jurisdiction.

In the interim, and despite any speculation you may read or hear to the contrary, we would again reiterate that the GAA have not decided on what competitions may or may not be facilitated in any revised national fixture programme for 2021. Such decisions will be a factor of how much time is ultimately available to us, both for an inter county season and for the broader participation levels that will be necessary for a meaningful club season at both adult and underage levels. 

The next signpost on the road for society is likely to come in the week leading up to Easter. We will again communicate directly with Counties and Clubs at that point and once Government make clear whether they see any further relaxing of restrictions (for example allowing inter-county training or games) being permitted.

We also want to assure you that we will publish a revised National Fixtures calendar at the earliest possible opportunity.

We thank you again for your patience and understanding of a very trying situation and we look forward with optimism to the resumption of GAA activities at all levels later in the year.

Is muidne,

Sean Ó hÓraín                                                   Tomás Ó Riain

UACHTARÁN                                                       ARD STIÚRTHÓIR