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Paul Mc Girr Tournament Begins

Wednesday 22.10.2014
Team Talk Mag


The 2014 Paul McGirr Ulster U16 Club Champions tournament kicks off in style this weekend in Gardrum Park, Dromore with a tantalising double bill in store on Saturday afternoon. First up at 2:30 is the preliminary round game between Cavan Champions Crosserlough and Fermanagh winners Derrygonnelly Harps. With Cavan football particularly at youth level going through something of a renaissance the Crosserlough boys will be fancying their chances of progressing to the latter stages of the competition and this team in particular has been very consistent in their displays, a fact alluded to by team manager Tom Boylan:

This Crosserlough U16 team remains unbeaten in Cavan for the past 4 years and have 6 boys on the Cavan U16 Development team at present. We are are really looking forward to playing in this tournament as it will be a true test of the team since we will be coming up against the best in Ulster”. With Patrick O’Reilly in fine form at full back and a strong midfield pairing of Owen Smith and Tomas Keaney there is no doubt that the Fermanagh boys will have to be at their best if they are to cope with the Crosserlough threat. Boylan along with team selectors Jimmy Higgins, Martin Donoughue and Donal Smith will be travelling to Dromore in confidence but they will be well aware of the task they have ahead of them as they face a talented Derrygonnelly Harps team who are rumoured to be one of the strongest underage teams to have come out of Fermanagh in recent years.

2014 Launch 2

Having impressively defeated a fancied Enniskillen Gaels team in the Fermanagh final, they will have no fear of their Cavan opponents. Derrygonnelly have been coached by Peter Jones and Anthony Greene from their junior years and have been become well accustomed to success. Indeed Jones feels that this bond they have built with the players through these years and the fact that they come from such a tight knit unit is their main asset.

Having won through in Fermanagh it is now a great honour for Derrygonnelly Harps to be representing their club and County in this well established and well run Ulster Paul McGirr competition. It is the first time for the Harps to play in this competition, so these boys are really looking forward to it and testing themselves against the champions of another county will be an experience in itself. Derrygonnelly Harps have no individual stars in their squad but play as a strong team unit. Anthony and myself have tried to instill that into the boys from the start and they have responded accordingly.”

St. Brigids of Antrim will be interested spectators at this game as they await the winners of the contest in the quarter final.

2014 Launch 3

The second fixture at 4:30pm on Saturday appears to be the tie of the round when old rivalries will be renewed between Down’s Burren and Armagh’s Clann Eireann. With many of these players facing each other regularly at Rannafast and MacRory Cup level they will be familiar foes, and both management teams will leave no stone unturned in their preparations for what promises to be a fascinating contest. Burren feature quite a few of the squad who last week also won the Down county minor title. The team has quite a pedigree having also won the All-Ireland Div 2 Feile title last year and the future definitely looks promising for one of Ulster’s most successful clubs. Speaking at the launch of the tournament in Garvaghy, manager Jimmy McAlinden spoke of his pride in qualifying for the tournament.

It is a great honour for Burren to represent Down in this year’s Paul McGirr tournament. We are delighted to have the opportunity to play against the top Under 16 teams in Ulster and know that it will be an enjoyable and entertaining experience. On behalf of the Burren management, players and club I would like to thank the Paul McGirr committee for giving us the opportunity to compete at this level. It is a wonderful tournament and we wish the Spirit of Paul McGirr Trust continued success with their projects in Zambia.”

Although non-commital on his team’s prospects, McAlinden is well aware that Burren are being talked about as one of the pre-tournament favourites but he will be under no illusions as to the task ahead of them this Saturday when handed one of the toughest draws they could have forseen in a Clann Eireann team that is full of attacking talent. Managed by Seamus McAtavey the Lurgan boys are undefeated all year having won the Armagh league title and defeating reigning Ulster U16 champions Crossmaglen in the Armagh championship final by 1-13 to 1-07. McAtavey was understandably proud of his acheivements so far.

The Clann Eireann players and management are delighted to have this opportunity to represent our club and county in the 16th Paul McGirr Tournament for the second time in the last 3 years. It goes without saying that this opportunity is the direct result of 12 years of hard work and is in no small part due to the commitment of a team of dedicated club coaches along with the support of parents. As Armagh League and Championship winners the boys are really looking forward to a sporting and competitive encounter with the Down champions Burren and I hope that the game itself reflects all that is best about underage football in Ulster. Finally, I would like to thank Dromore St Dympna’s for their kind invitation to take part in this prestigious tournament in memory of the late Paul McGirr”. Clann Eireann are ably led by team captain Ryan Owens at centre back and will be hoping from big performances in particular from midfielder Barry McCambridge and Conor McConville up front who has been outstanding in their Armagh campaign.

A feast of football is in store on Saturday at the Gardrum Park venue and as usual all proceeds from the tournament will go to ‘The Spirit Of Paul McGirr Trust’ who do such wonderful work for the under privileged in Lusaka, Zambia.



Photo 2014 Launch 1: L-R Barry Campbell (Chairman Dromore GFC), Francis McGirr (Pauls Father), Michael McGirr (Spirit of Paul McGirr Trust), Oisin McConville (Guest Speaker), Ciaran McLaughlin (Tyrone Chairman)

Photo 2014 Launch 2: L-R Ciaran McLaughlin (Tyrone Chairman), Micky McGirr (Spirit of Paul McGirr Trust), Oisin McConville (Guest Speaker), Barry Campbell (Chairman Dromore GFC)

Photo 2014 Launch 3: L-R Brian Owens (Clann Eireann), Oran McKeever (Dungiven), Joe Finnegan (St. Brigids), Conor Cox (Burren) Pauric McNicholl (Dungiven)



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