Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Thír Eoghain held their eagerly awaited annual Boys’ 5-a-side Indoor Football Final today, Monday 7 March, in Cookstown’s magnificent MUSA Indoor Arena. Six schools from across the county had each won their respective heats, paving the way for their Tyrone Final appearance. The big question needing answered was… Who would be crowned Tyrone Champions 2016?
There was palpable excitement and a buzz of anticipation amongst players, teachers and supporters alike. The footballing prowess on show was undeniable. These boys were to give us a Tyrone Final Day to live long in the memory.
The format of the day’s play was based on two sections (A & B) of three teams.
Section ‘A’ featured St. Patrick’s P.S. Dungannon; St. Colmcille’s P.S. Carrickmore and St. Mary’s P.S. Cabragh. A high quality section saw these teams play each other.
There was never much between the teams. Indeed, all of them played their hearts out. Master Muldoon saw his brave Dungannon lads narrowly miss out on a semi-final berth (after a play-off), despite playing some tremendous football. Instead, it was St. Mary’s P.S. Cabragh and St. Colmcille’s P.S. Carrickmore (won both matches) who qualified as Section ‘A’ Runners-up and Group Winners, respectively.
Section ‘B’ pitched St. Patrick’s PS Donaghmore; Holy Family P.S. Omagh and St. Teresa’s P.S. Loughmacrory, in another high calibre group. Another closely-fought Section underlined the tightness of these groups. A gallant Holy Family P.S. team, led by Master Groogan, experienced a similar fate to Dungannon, when they were narrowly denied a semi-final place. As the group ended, Donaghmore qualified as Section Runners-Up along with table-toppers, Loughmacrory.
A thrilling 5th place play-off between Dungannon and Holy Family P.S. was keenly contested by two talented teams. After an epic game of football, it was the Omagh lads who claimed fifth spot. Great credit to them and to St. Patrick’s P.S. Dungannon for being amongst the top 6 boys’ teams in Co. Tyrone this year!
Our semi-finalists now prepared to do battle. First up we had Section ‘A’ winners, St. Colmcille’s P.S. Carrickmore, against Section ‘B’ runners-up, St. Patrick’s PS, Donaghmore. We were about to witness a classic encounter. In a truly gripping contest, the play flowed from end-to-end. As the final whistle sounded, it was heartache for the boys from Carmen, as the lads from Donaghmore edged a gripping match. The Carrickmore team would contest the third-placed spot. This meant that Master Harte’s St. Patrick’s PS, Donaghmore had reached the county final – their second of the year, having also reached the Hurling Final. Who would they play?
The second semi-final was between Section ‘B’ winners, St. Teresa’s P.S. Loughmacrory and Section ‘A’ runners-up, St. Mary’s P.S. Cabragh. In an absorbing affair, both teams displayed strong footballing qualities. Whilst each team registered a goal, points were going to prove crucial in determining the outcome. As things transpired, it was Loughmacrory who prevailed 1:05 to 1:01 to book their place in the county final. Thus, Cabragh found themselves battling for third place – and a silver county medal. Meanwhile, the management duo of Masters McCullagh and Gallagher had guided St. Teresa’s P.S. Loughmacrory to the county final against Donaghmore.
Before this final took place, the encounter between Carrickmore and Cabragh saw a terrific game of football unfold. As typified the day’s play, there wasn’t more than a kick of the ball between the teams. Masters Donnelly and O’ Neill saw their Carmen charges give it everything they had. However, on this occasion, Master McKenna had the satisfaction of seeing his Cabragh team secure third place and silver county medals on a scoreline of 2:02 to 1:02. Both of these teams deserve huge credit and will, no doubt, be back-in-the-mix again next year.
The scene was now set for our Tyrone Final. The capture of this prestigious Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Tyrone Boys’ Indoor Football Champions 2016 title was now up for grabs. St. Patrick’s P.S. Donaghmore (led by Peter Harte) and St. Teresa’s P.S. Loughmacrory (led by Mark McCullagh and Mickey Gallagher) were to serve up a classic…
Both of our finalists expended every ounce of energy in a huge effort the land the trophy. An incredible game of football ensued. The standard of goalkeeping, blocks and interceptions was of a high order. As a result, goals were always going to be at a premium. Points could well prove decisive. The match ebbed one way and then the other. However, by the narrowest of margins, a 2-1 victory (points) for the talented boys from Loughmacrory proved enough to deprive a battling Donaghmore team on the day. It takes two teams to make a great final, and these wonderful players from Donaghmore should be immensely proud of their endeavours. A county gold medal was just reward for their incredible efforts. A further accolade fell Donaghmore’s way when Noah Grimes was deservedly named ‘Player of the Tournament!’ Maith thú!
As for the victorious team, Master McCullagh and Master Gallagher – and their triumphant Loughmacrory P.S. lads – can now bask in the glory of this tremendous accomplishment. The title of Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Tyrone Boys’ Indoor Football Champions 2016 is thoroughly well deserved – considering they finished with a 100% win record. Precious boxed gold medals will forever be cherished.
Next up for St. Teresa’s is a tilt at the Boys’ Ulster Championship title next month.
There is absolutely no reason why Loughmacrory can’t go on and capture a Tyrone and Ulster double. Everyone associated with Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Tyrone certainly wishes them well in their quest for further glory. Ádh mór oraibh!
We were delighted that Tyrone legend, Peter Canavan, kindly accepted our invitation to present the medals and trophy today. Go raibh maith agat! A word of thanks to Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Tyrone Director of Games, Niall McQuaid, Brian McGurk (Chairman) and Eddie Doris (Rúnaí & PRO) for organising this very successful competition. Ulster Officers Mickey Quinn and Pat McGivern also provided invaluable assistance throughout. Mid-Ulster Council’s Games Promotion Officer, Ronan Devlin, was a tremendous help throughout as well. Thanks, also, to Stevie McNamee, Brian McGinn and Marty Devlin for their expert refereeing throughout the various heats.
Finally, our appreciation goes to the friendly, efficient staff at MUSA.