Rossa hit Gaels for Six in Emphatic win

Bank of Ireland Paddy McLarnon Cup

Ulster U21 Club Football Tournament

Quarter Final

Sunday January 13

O’Donovan Rossa, Magherafelt (Derry) 6-7 Enniskillen Gaels (Fermanagh) 1-10

Brendan McTaggart reports from Páirc Chiceam #UlsterU21Club19

A blistering start with a hatfull of goals and a controlled display from O’Donovan Rossa, Magherafelt despite a fightback from Enniskillen Gaels ensured the Derry men would progress to the semi-finals.

Six goals from six different scorers throughout the hour proved to be the difference.  The Magherafelt side were in control of this quarter-final after 12 seconds when captain Michael McEvoy landed their opening goal and while the Gaels got to within six points late in the second half with a vastly improved display after the restart, a late brace from substitute Eoghan Hawe and Paddy McLarnon ensured the Derry champions would win with a bit to spare.

They were clinical in front of the posts in the first half and all but one of their scores came from open play in the opening 30 minutes.  The axis of Michael Lynch and Ronan Young were causing the Fermanagh champions insurmountable problems while the tactics of leaving their attacking trio isolated was paying huge dividends.  They had opened a six point lead by the sixth minute when Young landed their second major, McLarnon with the assist to leave Enniskillen Gaels with a huge mountain to climb.

Matthew McAleer opened the Gael’s account in the eighth minute with their first effort on goal but Rossa were dominant all over the pitch and were tearing through the Gaels defence at will.  Declan Martin landed a point for his side, drilling his effort over the bar but he had more than a point on his mind.  The Magherafelt man made no mistake when presented with a similar chance moments later though to score his sides third goal in the 11th minute.  Cormac Murphy with the assist and Martin’s finish emphatic.

The Magherafelt charge was halted with a point form John Reihill but the Derry men maintained their pressure with Michael Lynch landing a point before scoring their fourth goal with a superb team move.  Young collecting a long ball before finding Ben McErlain.  Lynch read the play and moved into space and McErlain duly obliged with the pass.  Lynch was through one on one and he gave Cian Newman no chance with his finish.  15 points separated the sides with seven minutes of the half remaining and the tie looked over.  Lynch added a free in the last minute of normal time of the half before Enniskillen Gaels scored a goal of their own and the goal of the contest.  Reihill collecting a quick free from Conal Quinn before unleashing a thunderous drive from distance with the ball clipping the inside of the upright before finding the back of the net.  It did little to take away from an outstanding performance in the opening 30 minutes from the Derry men as they led 4-6 to 1-2 at the short whistle.

The Fermanagh champions made changes for the second half and began to pick off scores from range.  Substitute Conor Love had a massive impact, scoring three points along with the playmaking ability of Callum Jones but they rarely threatened to score the goals they would need to worry the Derry men.

With seven between the sides they had a glimpse of goal when Jones landed a ball on top of Brandon Horan on the edge of the square but the Gael’s man saw his punched effort deflected over the bar by Odhrán Lynch in the Rossa goals. 

Magherafelt finished the quarter-final strongly however with Eoghan Hawe finding the back of the net after superb work from Conor McCluskey while Paddy McLarnon added the sixth deep in injury time.  The Gaels lost Smyth to a second yellow card late in the game but it had no bearing on the result with Rossa progressing to the semi-finals and a meeting with either Dromore or Clann Éireann in three weeks time.

Enniskillen Gaels: Cian Newman; Michael Dooris, Ciaran Smyth, Aaron Nolan; Conor Butler, Jonathan Cassidy (0-1), Ronan Beattie; Patrick Cassidy, Brandon Horan (0-1); Eoin Beacon, Conal Quinn (0-1, 1f), Ronan Quinn (0-1); John Reihill (1-2), Nathan Tierney, Matthew McAleer (0-1).

Subs: Conor Love (0-3) for P Cassidy (HT); Timmy Boyd for E Beacom (HT); Callum Jones for M McAleer (HT); Gavin Greene for R Beattie (38); Matthew Dixon for R Quinn (52).

O’Donovan Rossa, Magherafelt: Odhrán Lynch; Diarmuid Kielt, Conor Mansell, Patrick McLarnon (1-1); Conor McCluskey, Simon McErlain, Guisseppe Lupari; Michael McEvoy (1-00), Sean Óg Monaghan (0-1); Declan Martin (1-2), Cormac Murphy, Liam Óg McElhone; Ben McErlain (0-1), Michael Lynch (1-2, 1f), Ronan Young (1-00).

Subs: Eoghan Hawe (1-00) for M Lynch (50); Johnny McErlain for G Lupari (54); Ryan Kearns for C Murphy (inj).

Referee: Maggie Farrelly (Cavan)

Biddies seal derby day with controlled win

Bank of Ireland Paddy McLarnon Cup

Ulster U21 Club Football Tournament

Quarter Final

Sunday January 13

St Brigid’s (Antrim) 3-10 Crosserlough (Cavan) 3-7

Brendan McTaggart reports from Páirc Chiceam

A strong first half and a man of the match performance from Patrick Finnegan laid the foundations for St Brigid’s superb win over Crosserlough on Sunday.  Finnegan put in a stellar first half and another huge shift after the restart in a typical strong and controlled performance.  Sitting deep and reading the game while playing against the wind, the St Brigid’s midfielder was the catalyst for numerous attacks, providing an extra attacking dimension.

Three points separated the sides at the end of the hour but it was the first half when the Musgrave Park side took a strangle hold of this quarter-final.  Goals from the attacking duo of Peter Henvey and John Blaney in the first half gave St Brigid’s an eight point lead during the opening 30 minutes but the Cavan champions hit back before the short whistle.  A brace of goals from Tommy Boylan late in the half reduced the half time lead to two points.

St Brigid’s controlled the second half, maintaining at least their two point advantage and looked to have sealed the win when Rory Brolly scored their third major in the 54th minute to open a six point advantage.  Crosserlough continued to press and Shane McVeety’s stunning effort kept them within touching distance but the south Belfast side saw out the remaining time without major incident to book a semi-final place and a meeting with neighbours Carryduff.

The Cavan champions started strongly with Patrick Lynch looking dangerous in attack.  St Brigid’s gave Brogan Austin the unenviable task of being his permanent shadow while Michael Cummings stayed deep to try and thwart any direct ball from Crosserlough.

A brace of points from James Smith and Lynch gave Crosserlough a two point lead by the third minute but St Brigid’s were beginning to find their game.  Peter King and Finnegan dominated the midfield exchanges with some outstanding fielding while the St Brigid’s half backs and forwards were scurrying for any loose ball, winning the lions share during the opening 30 minutes.

Henvey opened St Brigid’s account before scoring the first goal of the quarter-final in the eighth minute.  Daniel Foster floated a high ball towards Smith with the full forward judging the flight of the ball perfectly before laying the ball into Henvey’s path.  The finish was composed and Henvey’s major gave St Brigid’s the lead for the first time and one they would hold onto for the remainder of the contest.

Further scores from Peter Webb and James Smith (three, one free) extended the St Brigid’s lead further with Smith second of the trio a certain effort for goal.  The Antrim champions were dominant and taking full advantage of the pressure they were creating. 

A brace of points from Patrick Lynch and Peter Smith brought Crosserlough to within four points once again but St Brigid’s landed another sucker punch and their second major.  Henvey turned architect this time, playing the ball into the path of Blaney with the St Brigid’s man having the presence of mind to punch the ball over the rushing Anthony Smith between the posts for Crosserlough and into the back of the net. 

Peter Webb landed his second of the match, this time from a free to open an eight point lead only for Crosserlough to hit back.  Substitute Tommy Boylan scored their opening goal with his first touch of the contest, pouncing on a loose ball after a free from Lynch had dropped short with St Brigid’s for once failing to clear their lines.  Boylan assisted with the next attack, Peter Smith pointing for his second of the tie with Henvey replying instantly for the Antrim champions.

St Brigid’s were at their attacking best for long periods of the first half but their were caught in possession two minutes from the short whistle and Crosserlough once again took full advantage.  Lynch rounding Foster before laying the ball into Boylan’s path and the Crosserlough sub applied the finish.

St Brigid’s controlled 25 minutes of the first half but the five minutes where they took their eye off the ball was enough for Crosserlough to show they wouldn’t go down easily.  Boylan’s late double gave the Cavan men a fighting chance in the second half and sounded a warning to the Musgrave Park side that this quarter-final was far from over.

If the first half was devastating from St Brigid’s, the second was controlled and composed.  They learned from the mistakes Crosserlough made and didn’t leave the gaps in their defence while being patient and clinical when it mattered.  Points from Webb and James Smith (free) opened a four point lead once again and while the Cavan champions responded with a brace of points from Stephen Smith and Lynch (free), St Brigid’s always looked in control. 

Peter Webb pointed for his fourth white flag of the quarter-final and his second from play midway through the half before Rory Brolly scored St Brigid’s third goal with his first touch.  Collecting a long ball, Brolly took on Eddie Devereaux-Gilsenan and while he would have been forgiven for fisting the ball over the bar, the St Brigid’s man made no mistake with a cool finish to leave six points between the sides and as many minutes remaining.

Crosserlough’s response was instant and equally as emphatic.  Shane McVeety’s effort found the top corner from easily 30 yards to leave three points between the sides once again but St Brigid’s saw out the time that remained without any further major incidents to book a last four encounter with neighbours Carryduff.

Crosserlough: Anthony Smith; John Cooke, Patrick O’Reilly, Conor Lee; Michael Smith, Conor Rehill, Ben Kelly-Flynn; James Smith (0-1), Eoin Smith; Brandon Boylan, Shane McVeety (1-00), Stephen Smith (0-1); Sean Briody, Patrick Lynch (0-3, 2 f’s), Peter Smith (0-2).

Subs: Eddie Devereaux-Gilsenan for C Lee (19); Tommy Boylan (2-00) for N Galligan (23); Emmett Boylan for J Smith (43); Cian Boylan for S Briody (43); Conor Lee for Eddie Devereaux-Gilsenan (inj)

St Brigids: John Toner; Henry McGuigan, Conor King, Daire McGarvey; John Morgan, Daniel Foster, Brogan Austin; Peter King, Patrick Finnegan; Peter Webb (0-4, 2 f’s), John Blaney (1-00), Michael Cummings; Ethan Carleton, James Smith (0-4, 2 f’s), Peter Henvey (1-2).

Subs: Shane Moran for B Austin (HT); Frank McCormack for H McGuigan (41); Rory Brolly (1-00) for E Carleton (48).

Referee: Sean Hurson (Galbally, Tyrone)

10th Paddy McLarnon-Bank of Ireland U21 Tournament launched at the Elk

Ulster U21 Club Football Tournament

Bank of Ireland Paddy McLarnon Cup 2018/19

The chase for U21 provincial honours get underway

By Brendan McTaggart

The Bank of Ireland U21 Ulster Club Tournament was launched and the draw for the quarter-finals made at The Elk on Thursday night.  With seven of the nine clubs represented by players and managers, there was a good crowd in attendance as tournament hosts Kickhams Creggan got proceedings under way in the tournament for the 10th year.

There are five new participants in this years tournament, Crosserlough (Cavan), Clann Éireann (Armagh), Carrickmacross (Monaghan), St Brigids (Antrim) and Magherafelt (Derry) making the journey to the Lough Shore and enter the tournament for the first time.  Carryduff (Down) and Enniskillen Gaels (Fermanagh) are back for successive years with the Down men beaten in last years semi-final by the eventual winners having accounted for Enniskillen Gaels in the quarter-final while  Dromore (Tyrone) make the tournament for the first time since 2015.

The preliminary round has thrown up a mouth-watering contest with Clann Éireann facing St Eunan’s, scheduled for Saturday January 12 with Tyrone champions Dromore waiting in the wings for the victors in the quarter-final.  The opening quarter-final is scheduled for later the same day with Carrickmacross facing Carryduff.  The following day sees a double header and Crosserlough taking on St Brigid’s at 12:30pm with Enniskillen Gaels and Magherafelt at 2:15pm.

Who will follow in the footsteps of Gaoth Dobhair to take the coveted Paddy McLarnon Cup for this year?  The Donegal men used the tournament as a springboard to a hugely successful 2018 – progressing to county and provincial honours at senior level while last years beaten finalists Erin’s Own Lavey were beaten in the Derry senior championship final.  The tournament helps clubs to unearth new talent and hone their skills against top opposition from outside of their own county.  It’s a tournament that has become an integral part of the calendar and is always superbly run by everyone concerned on the Staffordstown Road venue.


Saturday January 12

Prelim:  Clann Éireann (Armagh) vs St Eunan’s, Letterkenny (Donegal) @ 12:30pm

QF:         Carrickmacross (Monaghan) vs Carryduff (Down) @ 2:15pm

Sunday January 13

QF:         Crosserlough (Cavan) vs St Brigids (Antrim) @ 12:30pm

QF:         Enniskillen Gaels (Fermanagh) vs Magherafelt (Derry) @ 2:15pm

The fourth and final quarter final will be played on the weekend of 19/20 January with the date and time yet to be finalised.  The draw for the semi-finals is:

SF:          Carrickmacross/Carrduff vs Crosserlough/St Brigids

SF:          Magherafelt/Enniskillen Gaels vs St Eunan’s/Clann Éireann/Dromore

The final will be played on February 17.

Bank of Ireland Paddy McLarnon Cup

Ulster U21 Club Football Champions Tournament


The annual Paddy McLarnon Cup Ulster U21 Club Football Tournament is scheduled to take place in Kickhams GAC Creggan, starting on Saturday the 12th of January. Now recognised throughout Ulster as one of the outstanding events on the GAA calendar, this year’s tournament promises to be another resounding success.

Past winners have included Watty Grahams from Maghera who won the competition three years in succession and last year it was Gaoth Dobhair from Donegal who took the honours when they beat Lavey in the final.

Gaoth Dobhair went on to win this year’s Ulster Senior Club championship with many of the players who played in Creggan over the past two years featuring in that success.

This year Antrim champions, St. Brigid’s will have the opportunity to test themselves against the best Ulster have to offer and it would be nice to see the Saffron representatives get a run in this year’s tournament.

The tournament launch and draw will be on Thursday 27th December at 7pm in the Elk Complex, Toomebridge, and matches begin on Saturday 12th January 2019.

Made in Gaoth Dobhair but fine-tuned in Creggan

Ulster Senior Football club championship final

Gaoth Dobhair (Donegal) v Scotstown (Monaghan)

When Gaoth Dobhair take to the field this Sunday at Healey Park, Omagh to face Scotstown of Monaghan in the Ulster Club final there is likely to be more than a passing interest from South West Antrim on the fortunes of the Donegal champions.

Quite a number of the Gaoth Dobhair team played over the last two years as Donegal champions at the prestigious  Paddy McLarnon U21 tournament held at Kickham’s GAC Creggan, a tournament that the Saffron Gael cover and we got to see for ourselves just what an array of young talent the Donelgal Gaeltach side was producing.

Gary McFadden, Niall Friel, Michael Carroll, Naoise O’Boill, Odhran McFadden-Ferry, Gavin McBride, Eamon Collum and Daire O’Boill were all part of the successful team who defeated Lavey in the 2018 final and it was obvious that this team was something special.

Gaoth Dobhair went on to win the Donegal Senior championship this year with last year’s  U21 players very much to the fore and we got another up close look at them when they met Erin’s Own Cargin in the first round of this year’s Ulster club championship.

They were given a run for their money by the Antrim champions before emerging victorious by four points and went  on to beat Crossmaglen Rangers convincingly in the semi-final. Daire O’Boill was the Gaoth Dobhair hero against the Armagh men scoring a hat-trick of goals including a penalty.

Should Gaoth Dobhair go on to beat the favourites, Scotstown in the final it would be reasonable for those involved in that wonderful tournament at the Staffordstown Road to claim, ‘This side was made in Gaoth Dobhair but was fine tuned in Creggan’.

Gaoth Dobhair SFC V Cargin: Christopher Sweeney, Gary Mc Fadden, Neil Mc Gee, Christopher Mc Fadden, Niall Friel, Ciaran Gillespie, Seamus Boyle (0-01), Daire Boyle, Eamon Mc Gee (0-01),  Cian Mulligan (1-01), Naoishe Boyle, Donal Mc Bride, Eamon Collum (0-03), Kevin Cassidy (1-03), Michael Carroll (1-02)

Subs: Peadar Mc Hugh for Ciaran Gillespie, Seamus Carvill for D Mc Bride, Stephen Ferry for E Collum

Gavin Mc Bride for N Boyle,E Collum for G Mc Bride (black card)

U21 v Lavey:  Gaoth Dobhair: Charles Doherty; Ciaran McHugh; Gary McFadden; Ryan Kelly; Conor McCafferty; Niall Friel; Neasán Mac Gíolla Bhride; Michael Carroll; Odhran McFadden-Ferry; Naoise Ó Baoill; Cian Mulligan (3-0); Daire Ó Baoill (0-1); Seaghan Ferry; Gavin McBride (0-6, 5 f’s); Eamonn Collum (1-0)

Subs: Conor Boyle for E Collum (60 mins)

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Action and presentations from this year’s U21 tournament at Creggan