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Lavey Through To Paul Mc Girr Champions Tournament Final

Sunday 25.11.2018
Team Talk Mag


Lavey 2-04 v Burren 1-06

Two goals from the outstanding Downey cousins Matthew and Enda were just enough to secure a final place in the 2018 Paul McGirr U16 Club Champions Tournament in a tense and dramatic affair in Gardrum Park Dromore at the expense of a Burren side who will be rueing a number of missed second half opportunities. Both goals came in the first half from breakaways in what was a tough and hard hitting affair played out in front of a huge and vocal support for both sides, but it was at the other end of the field where Lavey really excelled and they can thank the likes of Ryan Farrell, Callum Downey and Niall Rafferty in particular for closing the door on a much vaunted Burren attack.

Lavey were quick out of the blocks as Burren started rather nervously. A pointed free from full forward Matthew Downey followed by one from play from his namesake Enda eased them into an early lead before they got the first goal of the game.  Centre forward James McGurk, who was a constant threat for Lavey throughout, gathered the ball deep in his own defence and burst forward. A long delivery from him found Matthew Downey in behind the Burren defence with Downey making no mistake in finding the back of Calum Grant’s net.

Burren however settled into the game shortly after and began to dominate proceedings around the middle sector through the efforts of Odhran Murdock and a pointed free from Murdock got them on the scoreboard.  A fine run and point from star forward Niall Toner got their second score. Toner’s battle with Ryan Farrell was one of the highlights of the contest with Farrell doing a superb job in nullifying the threat of the Burren danger man.

A dazzling team move then from Burren ended with James McCann finding the Lavey net to restore parity as the quality of the contest intensified. This was followed by a great individual score from James Duggan to give the Down men the lead for the first and only time.  Johnny McGurk’s men did not panic though and the rampaging Enda Downey capitalised on a mis-hit pointed effort finishing soccer style to the Burren net much to the delight of the vociferous travelling Lavey support.  A pointed Murdock free left the half time scores 2-02 to 1-04 in favour of Lavey.

The key switch of the game was made at half time with Matthew Downey who had up to then been superbly marshalled by Tong Magee switching to midfield and his ball winning ability teamed up with tremendous workrate earned him the man of the match award as he led his team to victory.

Enda Downey switched to the wing where he had much more freedom to make use of the wide open spaces of GardrumPark. Early scores from Enda Downey and Rory Magill gave Lavey some breathing space but that was to be their last score of the game as Burren stepped up the pace pinning the beleaguered Lavey defence back for the remaining twenty minutes of the game.

The Lavey defence though remained resolute during that period of intense pressure with a series of last ditch tackles and diving blocks denying Burren time and again.  Toner converted a free and Murdock pointed from play to leave the minimum between the sides setting up a tense and dramatic finish but a series of missed opportunities including a last minute free kick left the Down men thinking of what could have been.

A delighted Lavey manager Jonny McGurk was understandably a relieved man at the final whistle.”It was a superb win for our lads against what is a serious Burren side. Burren really threw everything at us in the second half but a very good defensive performance kept them at bay.  The two goals certainly made the difference. The first was a great goal and the second rather fortunate but it was no more than the lads deserved.  We were really put to the collar in those last 10 minutes but there was some great tackling and disciplined defending from our lads. We have a week to prepare for the final now against a very dangerous Carrickmore side, but it will be great to have Jamie Duggan back in the side as he was badly missed today. There are some great names on the Paul McGirr Cup and we will do everything to ensure that Lavey is added to that list.”


Although they will be extremely disappointed to have lost this game, all is not lost for this Burren side as 13 of the starting 15 players are still underage next year and there is no doubt that Aidan Wood’s charges will be chomping at the bit to get back to Dromore to challenge for the 2019 title.  Lavey in the meantime will return to Gardum Park next Sunday as they seek to deny Carrickmore what would be their club’s first ever Ulster title.


Lavey – Eoin Scullion, Segdae Melaugh, Niall Rafferty, Joseph McGurk, Niall Duggan, Conlan O’Kane, Ryan Farrell, Enda Downey (1-2), Shea O’Neill, Jack Scullion, James McGurk, Rory McGill (0-1), Patrick Mcgurk, Matthew Downey (1-1 1f), Calum Downey – Subs – Conor McDonagh for C O’Kane

Burren – Callum Grant, Sean Downey, Tony Magee, Aaron Cole, James Kelly, Patrick McCarthy, Ryan Magill, OdhranMurdock (0-3 2f), Conlin Bradley, James Duggan (0-1), James McCann (1-0), Aaron Murdock, Tiarnan Ryan, Zach Murdock, Niall Toner (0-2 1f)  – Subs – Eoin Loughran for Bradley, Eoin McKernan for Cole, Niall Somerville for A Murdock


Referee:  Eamon McHugh





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